wake up scared, wake up strange, everything around me stays the same

by mg at 01:38 PM on February 28, 2002

For as long as I could grow hair on my face, I’ve grown hair on my face.

I can never remember why exactly I started growing it, but probably, like most pubescent boys, I was so amazed by the changes going on inside my body, that I hated to ignore them, and I wanted everyone else to notice too.

I’d started growing pubic hair long before it started growing anywhere else on my body. But, I lived with just my mother; 12 year-old me wasn’t about to pull down my pants and say, “Look ma!” Hair under the arms meant I’d have to start wearing deodorant or risk smelling like an Afghani refuge after a game of dodge ball in P.E. class. Spermie production meant messy cleanups after “exploring my sexuality” with the bra advertisements from the J.C. Penny circular.

But with facial hair, there was a way of showing I was a man without any embarassement, foul odor, or violation of public nudity statutes.

Growing a beard was my way of saying, “Hey world, I’m man now.” I’m not sure, though, how anyone looking at my attempts at a beard didn’t laugh in my unshaven face. Like most teenage boys, all I could grow were about three strands of hair, which, no matter how exceptionally long they grew, wouldn’t suffice for a chin comb-over. No one thought I looked like a man but me and the occasional convenience store clerk, that’d sell me a pack of cigarettes without a hassle.

Luckily there aren’t many pictures that survive from that phase of my gestation. But, if I really want to relieve those painful memories, all I have to do is take a look at my cousins. I’m the oldest of 5 boys, and the youngest just turned 15. I’ve had the opportunity to watch each of them hit their teens and try the pubescent mustache.

Of course, such endeavors have always led to dismal failure. When I was that age, there was no one to advise me just how stupid it looked, so I try to be that person for my cousins. If I’m good at one thing, its telling people they are stupid. Unfortunately, none of them have listened, no matter how much I make fun of them.

But, this isn’t about them, it’s about me. Eventually, it got to the point that my pubescent facial hair looked just like normal facial hair. I spent most of my high school years, all (7) of my college years, and all the time since with some form of facial fuzz. Whether goatee, love patch, well-groomed beard, or man of the mountain beard, my face has been covered with human fur.

It’s been more than a decade and of course there have been many occasions when I’d get sick and shave the damn thing, most noticeably right before my high school yearbook picture (not included for reasons of extreme embarrassment).

Most times, I’d take one look at my bare face and remember why I wore the beard. Not only does it make me look like I’m 12 years old, but I’m thin enough that without the hair to puff up my face, I look like I’m only recently escaped from Dachau. That is why I usually only shave right before a long weekend, knowing that if I hate it, I’ll have at least 3-4 days of growth before I have to face another human being again.

If you’ve been reading regularly for the past couple months, you’ll certainly notice a pattern about me wanting to change my life. Usually, my face mowing has been inspired by a need to make some sort of change, and barring the ability to make an actual change to my life, I’ve made a physical change.

Well, my hair is really too short to cut any shorter (and really, if I think a shaved face looks bad, I don’t want to imagine a shaved head). I’ve promised myself to not dye my hair any more (trying to prevent the impending male pattern baldness as best I can). I already wear the fake spectacles and can’t afford colored contact lenses (much less have the guts to stick my finger in my eye on a daily basis).

The only choice left me is to shave. I have nowhere to be for the next, couple… well, ever, so I did the deed last night. I also shaved. When I was done, I, of course, wished I’d never started.

There was something worthwhile to come out of all this; something I’d never have noticed otherwise. Naked faced (and even more so today with a little stubble) I look remarkably like Homer Simpson.

comments (21)


I'm just an excitable boy....

by northstar at 09:45 AM on February 28, 2002

Send lawyers, guns, and money The shit has hit the fan.

- Warren Zevon

This week�s reasons why the Apocalypse is upon us:

1) How can you tell when Jeff Skilling is lying? Check to see if his lips are moving.

2) The US is sending troops to Georgia to help in the war against terrorism. Hey, whatever works. Besides, Atlanta is lovely this time of year.

3) The Shrub Administration has announced plans to reduce Internet access for the poor. It makes perfect sense, I suppose- the poor generally don�t donate to Republicans anyway.

4) The Houston Astros bought back the naming rights to their ballpark from Enron. If they really wanted to make an impact, they could sell the naming rights to a personal hygiene company. How about Vagisil Field, Monistat Stadium, Beano Ballpark?

5) Shrub�s latest effort is a piece of political puffery supporting marriage and employment. I wonder how many late nights his staffers put in coming up with that one? I suppose it makes sense, though, since the plan pushing recreational sex, welfare dependence, and needle exchanges wasn�t exactly a hit among Shrub�s core right-wing Christian nutcase constituency.

6) The Presbyterian Church has decided once and for all that God loves heterosexuals more than homosexuals. I suppose that on some primal level it�s good to know that bigotry and discrimination is alive and well. Life can be so dull when you have no one to marginalize.

7) Fully 50% of the hits on my website have been coming from people doing Google searches for naked pictures of Jamie Sale, the Canadian figure skater. Y�all must have way too much time on your hands, particularly the person who was searching for �naked curling pics�. Ewwwwww��

8) The big news in the art world is the gallery show in Birmingham, England that features a video loop of 10 Cuban men performing sex acts on each other. You just can�t make this stuff up�.

comments (5)


I'd like to thank myself for this award.

by jasmine at 12:23 AM on February 28, 2002

So the Grammys are on television as I write this, I would normally be watching but I have better things to watch like the movies I bought today, (Ghost World and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back).

By this time, I would usually be very much engrossed in the Grammys doing my annual count of how many times people "thank god" when they accept thier awards. How are people so sure that 'god' is really helping them win thier awards, I think god (who by the way in my world is Jerry Garcia) is sitting back laughing at thier asses, but then again this is my world.

I have no real ambition to be a musician, but I would be one just to win some sort of an award. In which I would not thank god but Satan, "Because, If I wouldn't have never sold my soul to him I would still be selling crack on the corner and living out of a box in an alley. Or I think I would still be living in my parents basement. Which ever fictional story pops into my head first.

Or better yet, I'd just like to thank myself "Because, If I wasn't such a damn good musician all of these suckers wouldn't have bought my album making me filthy, filthy rich. So rich that I just burn hundred dollar bills for the hell of it while my man whores wait on me hand and foot."

Or at least in my world things would go like this.

But this years Grammys have not blown completely, Jon Stewart is the host and he is my hero, well actually 4th down on my hero list after Paul Rubens, Dennis Miller, and George Carlin (who is also god, in a very ironic way).

By the way, I have been watching for 10 minutes and people have thanked god twice. The tally continues.

comments (3)


Regrets, I've had a few

by d at 09:01 PM on February 27, 2002

Is it better to have loved and lost? I've yet to meet somebody who agrees.

I can already split the audience of this post into the two groups, those who disagree and those who have never been in love. I mean really in love, when your every waking thought is filled with when next you'll see them, be able to watch the movement of their body, feel the smoothness of their skin... when your very joints ache to be with them again, and then when you are together the time just seems to disappear...

As a young and very foolish teenager I made the mistake of falling in love over the Internet. A real pioneer, very few people were doing it back in those days. I only mention it because The Crow is on one of the movie channels and I'm overwhelmed right now with feelings of bittersweet regret, melancholy, some of the joyous memories float to the top of the pile but mainly I just feel the regret that I had a good thing and I fucked it up only to land on my feet with something better.

If ever there was a perfect movie to accompany the guilt and loss of a failed relationship then this would have to be it. The story was taken from the self-written, self-pencilled, self-everything but marketed comic book by James O'Barr, written in a fit of depression after his fiancee was killed it stands as an allegory about love, loss and the retribution that O'Barr never received.

Mixing poetry and paintings in with the atmosphere noir of the inked comic pages, O'Barr created a magnum opus to avenging wronged lovers, writing and drawing over 300 pages, with a visible progression in his style between the outset and the conclusion.

Is it good to get melancholic from time to time about lost loves and the paths unchosen? Sometimes. Is it right to dwell on the guilt and regrets? No, unhealthy and a waste of time, since the inescapable reality is always there to catch you in the end. So I don't dwell, I barely even pause for the thoughts. But sometimes, just sometimes, a reminder will creep in, an image, a song, a work of art that she liked above all others and the tears well up behind my eyes and my fingers ache and I think of those days again and know that I didn't make the right choice or the wrong choice, I made the only sane choice.

Forgive me father for it has been nearly two months since my last Bad Sam post but I have had various problems with my real life and problems with my virtual life on Acerbia. "I am pilot error, I am fetal distress, I am the random chromosome, I am complete and total madness..."

comments (1)


Setbacks in U.S./Taiwan Diplomacy

by space at 12:58 PM on February 27, 2002

I work in an academic library. That, by the way, is an excellent line if you need a way to introduce yourself to hot girls. They love to hear about Interlibrary Loan and Reserve Desk policies. You have to be careful though, eventually they'll expect you to delete their fines. Don't let them compromise your integrity. You're a librarian; you have standards of evilness and surliness to uphold.

Anyway, there are a lot of international students there. Last week, I was helping a Taiwanese gentleman search the catalogue for a book he needed. I found the item, wrote the call number on a slip of paper and handed it to him. He said "thank you," and started to bow.

That's not unusual. A lot of the international students bow when they say thank you, though sometimes you can tell they're trying not to. Sometimes I bow back. I don't mean to. It's involuntary, like the way you tend to automatically shake hands when someone extends theirs to you. This was one of those times, and I inclined my head a bit.

The thing was, this guy kept bowing. He was really going for it, bending from the waist, leaning way over. I was looking at the top of his head. So I kept bowing too, going deeper, starting to feel ridiculous. Why are you bowing? Stop! It got worse a nanosecond later when I realized something.

He wasn't bowing, he was reaching for his briefcase, which was sitting on the floor.

As he started to straighten up, I started to turn beat red. What was I doing? I was obviously bowing to a man who was not. How could I avoid a rather serious transgression of etiquette, not to mention an international incident? Fortunately, I am nothing if not brilliant (and handsome and witty and dangerous and whatnot), and I came up with an ingenious way out of this potentially embarrassing situation.

I dropped my pen.

See! I wasn't bowing either, I was just bending over to pick up this pen! Never mind that I hadn't dropped it yet. I could, um, feel myself about to drop it. I was anticipating. Yes, that's right.

Oh, go away.

I looked around as he left, and no one seemed to have noticed. No one would have ever been any the wiser if I didn't feel the need to announce my faux pas on a website read by hundreds.

comments (6)


It's a real weenie-shrinker....

by northstar at 10:08 AM on February 27, 2002

Yes, Virginia, palm trees are a good thing. Why? Because you will never see a palm tree in a snowdrift....

It’s so cold in Houston this morning that there are reports of lawyers wandering around downtown with their hands in their own pockets…. Chickens are laying freeze-dried eggs…. Lawyers are leaving accident scenes before the ambulance arrives….

It was 26 degrees above zero when I woke up this morning. Now, I don’t know what parts of Siberia y’all live in, but Old Man Winter is an infrequent and very unwelcome guest here in southeast Texas. Cold is a relative thing, though, depending on what you’ve been acclimated to. This is about as cold as I can remember it getting here, but I’ve only lived here for five years. I grew up in far northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border, where cold takes on an entirely different meaning, and where fishing and snowmobiling on frozen lakes are treasured cultural experiences.

The coldest I can ever remember is –54 degrees, and there was no wind chill. People would start their vehicles (if they could) and leave them running, because if the engine died, it might not start again. Imagine trying to start your car, and hearing only a click- the engine won’t even turn over because it’s frozen. Even if your car did start, the tires would be so frozen out of round that they couldn’t roll properly. Imagine antifreeze freezing. Imagine wondering how long it would take to get tickets to Orlando.

When native Texans complain about cold weather, I’m tempted to trot out my stories, but it’s hard for them to relate. Icicles are a foreign concept. Imagine the blank stares when you try to explain snow drifts. Since it hasn't snowed here since the Eisenhower Administration, regaling people with stories of 6-foor drifts and snowblowers is a pointless exercise.

It will be like this for a day or two, and then things will get back to normal. Soon, summer will be here, and living in southeast Texas will once again feel like inhabiting the inside of a pizza oven. For now, though, I’m going to enjoy life on the frigid side. At least here it is short-lived. For those of you unfortunate souls who live above the Mason-Dixon line, don’t put your shovels away just yet….

comments (4)


Molestation, Vagrants, K-Mart, and Fish Sticks

by jesus at 02:44 AM on February 27, 2002

I found something of interest tonight during 'Wheel of Fortune', a show I would despise, except it's placed opposite of "Hollywood Squares". And "Wheel of Fortune", unlike the latter, is preferable to death by asphyxiation or being slowly fed to pirahnas. Anyway, I was quietly laying on the couch, eating a bowl of rice--a cheap, easy substitute for actual substinence-- when one of those li'l 15 second ads showed up before cutting to commercial...

"Gorton's Fishsticks: Our mascot looks like a child molestor."

Apparently, in the competitive breaded fish industry, clever advertising is needed to stay ahead of the curve, or something. So, when all else fails, the marketing specialists fall back on that age-old solution of putting a homeless guy in a yellow raincoat, tossing him on an antiquated fishing boat, and having him hock fish sticks to children.

The guy in the commercial didn't say he was a child molestor, but it was clearly implied. The catch line for the whole commercial was this brilliant line-- "Wanna catch the little ones?". Then they cut to a brilliant scene where several small children of various ethnic backgrounds are putting their grubby hands all over a plate of fish sticks, implying either that Gorton's is a culturally sensitive company, or that the childrens' mother is a whore.

When this idea was pitched to whatever retards in control of marketing over at the fish company, I'm sure it sounded like a real winner. "Ooooh, what a clever pun! We're selling fish sticks! And it says, Wanna 'catch' the little ones! Har har har."

And from there, the bad ideas just snowballed. If nothing else, I'm presuming Gorton's is still up and running as of this writing, which is more than I can say for certain K-Mart. So now we know why K-Mart went under, not because of their shoddy stores or second-rate products, but because they lacked lame catch phrases and scary looking vagrants wearing rain coats.

If this Gorton's thing pays off, I'm sure some company will start handing out raincoats to the homeless. If smelly transients are just going to walk round all day, someone might as well use them as free advertising. Hell, I already associate K-Mart products with the lowest levels of society, why not take it one step further?

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by quicksilver at 12:58 PM on February 26, 2002

Ugh. I was inspired. But now I'm not. Because I'm in too much pain. So we could either be talking about computer viruses, or itchy pain-giving skin rash viruses. Both of which I think I might have. Ow. Never ever ever try spraying Solarcaine on ALL of the pain spots. Because then they might just become BIGGER pain spots. Ow. I need a dermatologist. My skin is running away from me.

On the computer side of things, I found a file on my computer called "open this and you die". No extension. Not an .exe, .jpg, .htm, no nothing. Of course, being one of the most computer sterile people I know, I freaked out. My laptop doesn't have a floppy drive. There is NO WAY my girlfriend is going to work at school, save it to a disk, and bring it home to my shiny new Inspirion 8100E. HELL NO. Yes, I love her. HELL NO. Now, "open this and you die" hasn't been one of the more popular "I LOVE YOU's" or "Melissa's". But it raised the i'm worried about this flag. So of course, I try to find out what it is. Opened it with notepad, saw some gibberish, and shut it down. Deleted it. Ran a virus scan. All set. But still, that nagging. I opened it. Mesa gonna die now? Nag nag nag. Until that night. I'm finished with my martial arts class, and we're all sitting around sharing a few beers. I tell one of my more computer minded friends about the file, and my girlfriend just starts giggling to herself. "Oh babe, that was me! I did that because I found a file I didn't like on your computer." Damnit. I'm gonna find out what that picture was and post it later. More passwords for everyone.

comments (4)


I only lied about being a liar....

by northstar at 09:51 AM on February 26, 2002

Gary Condit is back, once more trying to spin his way into the good graces of his constituents. Being a loyal and liberal Democrat, there is a part of me that would like to see Condit clear his name. By all accounts, Condit has been a respected and productive member of Congress for many years. That would seem to count for little now, because the man has established himself as a liar and a cheat, and his continued political survival past this November’s election is suspect. This is as it should be. Even I can’t spin this one.

The events of 9.11.01 were, in a twisted way, a godsend for Condit. After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the search for Chandra Levy was, understandably, no longer front-page news. Ms. Levy is still nowhere to be found, and to her parents that is still front-page news. No one knows the degree or depth of Rep. Condit’s involvement, because he is not talking about her disappearance- to the police or to the press.

Granted, I cannot begin to know all of the pertinent details and realities of his involvement (or lack of same) in her disappearance. What upsets me is the stalling, the obfuscating, and the prevaricating that have been designed solely to maintain his political position. The sad part of this is that a young woman who had a brilliant future before her is nowhere to be found, and a Congressman, who by all accounts has until now served his district admirably, is caught up in it somehow.

Personally, I don't much care about the intimate details of what Condit did or did not do with Levy. The hot oil rubdowns, the weekends at his apartment- hey, we’re all adults, right? What is at issue here is his appalling and self-absorbed conduct. The fact that he a) committed adultery, b) lied about it, and c) has been implicated in Levy's disappearance, ought to be more than enough for the voters in his district to send him packing in November. He deserves it.

comments (8)


on the boats and on the planes

by mg at 01:30 AM on February 26, 2002

It’s Black History Month here in the states. There have been all sorts of wonderful events to celebrate.To commemorate the contributions African-Americans have made to history, culture and society, there have been events showcasing traditional food, music, and arts.

Even with all there has been, there haven’t been any TV specials. At least none like they have for Christmas, or any of the other holidays. There is no Peanuts special celebrating black history month. There was never an episode where Franklin teaches the rest of the gangs about the true meaning of Black History month by quoting from Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech. No claymation adventures, no “very special” episodes of Sesame Street, and no Rudolph guiding runaway slaves through the night to their next appointed underground railroad safe house. Not even a Fat Albert special.

Most of the Christmas specials we’ve come to know and love were first broadcast decades before most of you reading this were even born. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer premiered in 1964, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown in 1966, How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1966. Back then, black folks had barely broken into America’s pastime, baseball, much less America’s TV viewing routine.

Over the years sensibilities have shifted. Now, we’re all aloud to drink from the same water fountains. Yet, for some reason, there still aren’t any black holiday specials.

There are some high-brow documentary shows, mostly on PBS, like the Huey P. Newton I watched a couple weeks ago. There is even the occasional major network dramatization like the Rosa Parks that I categorically avoided (it was on CBS). Still no, there is no pre-nut job Samuel L. Jackson performance that brings families together families around the tube on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, unlike the pre-nut job Charlton Heston performance in The Ten Commandments that brings together families around the tube every Easter.

That very fact has forced some local stations here in New York to celebrate black history month in their own way. This Saturday, they ran an Eddie Murphy marathon. First, 48 Hours and then Coming to America. I’d hardly consider 48 Hours suitable black history month material, considering Nick Nolte’s character is unabashedly racist, and never redeems himself, bur Coming to America is another thing altogether.

It was written by African-Americans and stars an all black-cast (except for Louie Anderson, who can hardly be considered a member of the species, much less of any specific race). The story is all about an African prince who comes to America to experience the culture and lifestyle of an average man. You’d think this is a perfect movie to celebrate black history.

But, I’ve got to say that Eddie Murphy is as much a cartoon as Franklin, maybe even more so. Coming to America is as big a misrepresentation of black culture in America (Jerry Curls, working at McDonalds, living in slums) as it is of Africa (elephants and giraffes wandering around and tribal dancers everywhere).

Now, maybe I shouldn’t say a thing. Not being black and all myself, I’m not the right person to say who should or shouldn’t be a representative. But I can say it sure does give a bad rap to the fine Borough of Queens, New York.

Murphy’s character comes to Queens because he thinks that is the proper location to find the consort for a king. Except for one lucky woman, all he finds are skanky hos. My neighborhood may be infamous for it’s transvestite prostitutes, but they are all high-class wo/men. When Murphy, and his attaché, Arsenio Hall first arrive in Queens, their baggage is immediately stolen. I’ve had a lot of things stolen from me, but never my luggage. They then find a nice apartment, replete with giant rat. Now, I’ll admit I had a bit of a mouse problem several months ago, but rats? That the kind of thing you’ll only find in The Bronx.

Queens is home to both New York City airports. There have been two World Fairs held in Flushing Meadow Park. The New York Mets play here. The U.S. Open Tennis tournament is held here. There are people from more nations living here than are represented in the United Nations. Queens may be home to some of the most working class neighborhoods in New York, but also some of the richest neighborhoods too (sometimes within a few blocks of each other). Manhattan may be where it’s at, and I wont try to say Queens is better, but, borrowing from the recent Olympics, it certainly deserves the silver medal.

So, there you have it – how Coming To America does a poor job representing Queens-Americans, and a call to the claymation artists of America and the estate of Charles Shultz to get working on a special in time to celebrate next year's Queens History Month.

comments (3)


how you like me now?

by mg at 04:20 PM on February 25, 2002

Howdy. It’s been a week since badsam: next went live. In just 7 days there have been 41 posts, 173 comments. In one week there have been nearly 2,000 unique visits and 4,500 total hits. It took original flavor badsam nearly 3 months to get anything close to that amount of traffic.

The site hit number 7 on the blogdex hot list and number 12 on the Daypop Top 40.

But numbers don’t mean everything.

Numbers are nice, but what is really important is how ya’ll are feeling about things. So, how do you feel? Good, bad, indifferent? Anything you love? Anything missing? Any author you'd like to see emasculated? Let’s hear all about it.

comments (9)


Driving in my soapbox

by emma at 11:17 AM on February 25, 2002

At last a road levy to dissuade the British driving public from continuing to drive free of responsibility, new monthly road charges will aim to dissipate congestion and air pollution and see an end to extensive road building.
Nothing gets on my tits more than the amount of single people i see sitting in their cars each and every day of the week, clogging up the roads, polluting the air just because they think they'll get to work that bit faster or because its easier than walking their kids to school. I realise that its every persons perogative to drive but why can't they car share, or give public transport a go, or even, dare i say, WALK. Isn't it time to take responsibility, there are no excuses, we are all aware of the downsides of driving, we know how much traffic contributes to pollution, most certainly to congestion and not to mention road traffic accidents.
Now you may have guessed that i have a 'thing' about cars, in that i don't drive, although i have, but cars don't interest me in the slightest, now this may place me in the minority but honestly, what person is happy to spend good hours of their lives cooped up in a metal box on some featurless roadway, watching the clock, tick, tock, tick, tock away!? No matter which direction they look all they see are other prisoners in metal boxes desperately trying to oppress the slowly building rage.
Personally, i cycle to work, each day i glide past all those four wheeled suckers stuck in traffic jams and although it can be a tad nerve wracking (there's always one maniac driver on the loose) its a damn site quicker and a whole lot less stressful, and at least i'll keep my sanity this way and money in my wallet.

comments (6)


Hey, does anyone know any good pickup lines in Croatian??

by northstar at 10:14 AM on February 25, 2002

Well, the Winter Olympics have run to completion, and the athletes from 77 different countries are headed home. We can all go back to not caring about luge, skeleton, moguls skiing, and team binge drinking. Even as I become older and more cynical, I still find myself relishing watching the Olympics, whether winter or summer. The feel-good aspect is high: we get to root for Americans, watch athletes achieve lifelong dreams, and watch warm and fuzzy human-interest stories unfold. Best of all, we can do this from the comfort of our couches. It is such a rare event that can bring the entire world together in relative peace and harmony. So why not enjoy it while we can? Besides, both “Friends” and “ER” were pre-empted by the Olympics, so we were stuck.

The Olympics is like any large family gathering- it puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional". Even though Russian and Korean team officials talked as if they would boycott the closing ceremonies, the athletes reminded us what it is really all about- a great excuse for a party. It’s like Rush Week, only no one cares that there isn’t any beer.

There is something refreshing about seeing so many young people from some many different countries celebrating together. For at least a couple hours, the answer to “Can’t we all just get along?” is YES. Now we can get back to the business of bombing some poor Third World country back into the Stone Age.

Meanwhile, Utah can go back to trying to stamp out polygamy and dissent. No one seemed to care (much less remember) that the reason the Games came to Salt Lake City in the first place was because of the efforts of the law firm of Bribery, Corruption, Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe. Of course not: that line of thinking is clearly not in keeping with the Olympic spirit. Besides, most people were too busy searching the Internet looking for naked picture of Jamie Sale. Party on, Garth....

comments (3)


A Man With A Plan

by jesus at 03:15 AM on February 25, 2002

Terrorists are evil, evil people, and they all seem to congregate in this hell-hole known as a Middle Eastern Cave. The elderly are also evil, evil people, and they all seem to congregate in this hell-hole known as Florida. Florida, as we all have learned from years of reading Scripture, is the root of all things synonomous with "not good". Evidence? Yea. I got evidence. And it all leads to a tidy solution as to how to eliminate the terrorist threat, without getting our hands dirty. So, without delay...

Example Uno: Anthrax. Remember where that whole anthrax scare started? Yep. It killed an elderly newspaper gentleman first, and then spread north. Naturally, the man had to be elderly, as they don't allow anyone under the age of 60 to enter the state.

Example Dos: Florida hates unfortunate, abused people. Because of Florida, this country has warehouses packed full of the wonder drug Cipro, a medication designed to fight a disease that's killed about a half dozen Americans in the last quarter century. That's hard-earned tax money that could be put to better use elsewhere, like medicating Typhoid Mary or building a home for this vagrant named Radio Randy that wanders around my hometown. But nooooooo...Florida hates the diseased and homeless, they love to watch pain and suffering. The sadistic bastards. Did I mention they used to allow slavery in Florida?

Example...Three: Florida hates children, too. According to the people who study these kinds of things, by the time my generation is ready to make our pilgrimage to Florida and die, Social Security will be all screwed up. And once Social Security goes down, this whole country is all going to hell. Rhinos will be running through the streets, The Antichrist will be sitting on Abe's lap on The Lincoln Monument, and poo-flinging monkeys will be hanging from trees everywhere. If FDR had never gotten Polio, and if he wasn’t dead, he’d probably roll over in his grave, or at least turn on his side and grumble.

Aside from the two weeks a year known as Spring Break when hordes of inebriated college girls invade and take over, Florida is little more than a giant, swampy grave-- a place where the old and decrepit go to leech off the young and die slow, painful deaths. I only listed three examples of why Florida is the cause of all the world's ills, but there are so many more: the 2000 Presidential Election, the countless people run down by blind grannies at speeds sometimes exceeding 10 mph, and the continued popularity of croquet and CNN.

What do Walt Disney, Andrew Jackson, Ray Charles, and Janet Reno all have in common? They're either dead (Disney, Jackson), mostly dead (Charles), or will eventually be dead (Reno). Some say it's just a coincidence that those four very closely related mortals are all destined to the same fate, but can such compelling evidence truly be dismissed as coincidence?

I still don't understand why we're trying to keep terrorists out of this country. What we need to do is make Florida a more attractive place for potential terrorists; a few large buildings could be put up, we could throw together an Israeli embassy, maybe build some ultra low tech nuclear power plants, and voila! It's like a terrorist's wet dream. Florida's a giant death trap, so why not use it to our advantage?

comments (3)


deer editor

by effenheimer at 08:47 PM on February 24, 2002


quick explanation. articles are stories with a reporters byline. news, sports, features... all articles connoting some kind of nonbiased position. columns have mugs usually plus the name of the writer and are as biased as all get out because they represent the opinion of the writer. editorials are the "opinion of the paper" written by different members of the papers editorial board at differnt times.

i tell you this because the average person can refer to a column as an article or editoral and may or may not know the difference. my paper's "edit board" seems to be made up of the managing editor writing whatever the publisher tells him to write about. occasionally, the ME is gone and they ask me to write an editorial or two. no consensus, no discussion, just space filler. so with 10 minutes to spare, i banged out this little opus just to see if anyone was paying attention. they were not.

Deerkill a good idea

Deer are wonderful and beautiful creatures... in their place.

But when deer threaten the lives, planes and businesses associated with the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport, the time for sitting back and admiring these wonderful denizens of the forest is over and the time for action is at hand.

As many as 60 deer have been found milling about the runway of the airport and pilots are encouraged to fly by the field before landing to make sure it is safe.

A wise precaution considering that in 1992, significant damage was done to one plane after colliding with a deer.

A survey is currently in the works by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to see if the number of deer in the area would warrant issuing special hunting licenses or “nuisance permits” to hunters to kill deer.

This would put the airport in the business of distributing the resulting "venison" to charitable organizations.

As distasteful as it might seem, deerkills can provide much needed protein to soup kitchens and shelters in desperate need of food stuffs.

Deer meat is an inexpensive and lean source of good nutrition that should not go to waste.

It is rare that one city problem can be solved by another, but when the opportunity presents itself, all concerned should be prepared to do the right thing no matter how gruesome it might seem to the casual observer.

comments (12)


in open doldrums oceans of unknowable emotions

by mg at 03:00 PM on February 24, 2002

On Friday, me, Space, Miss B, and Michele got together for a night of frivolity and mayhem. I couldn't hope to explain Friday night's gathering any more ably, amusingly, or arbitrarily than Michele, so why try?

Besides, if I said any more, I’d only be incriminating myself further. So just go here and read it for yourself.

On Saturday night me, space, miss b, conor (the most infrequent Samaritan) and quicksilver (part of bs: tng) got together for another night of illicit affairs. Luckily for those of us intending to record the event, Michele wasn't around on Saturday, so the rest of us have a chance of chronicling the night without the overwhelming stage fright of comparison.

Unfortunately, I’m still entirely too tired and word-short to relate the events of the night now. Let's just say for now that it's been a long drunken weekend, one I’m sure not to forget a long time, as soon as I can remember it.

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If you can't live without me, shouldn't you be dead by now??

by northstar at 11:39 AM on February 24, 2002

For reasons that I cannot even begin to explain, I found myself thinking last week of the first woman I ever loved. Well, OK, the first girl. I was in fourth grade, and I was head over heels in love with Leanne Wilkes. I’m not sure that she ever had a clue that I would have committed ritual suicide, shaved my head, and sold my baseball card collection to make her love me. All I knew was that she was beautiful, and the sun rose and set majestically over her smile.

I adored Leanne with a passion that, well, I suppose only a fourth-grader could muster. That is to say I was totally, completely, utterly clueless about how to express my feelings. We had a number of mutual friends, so we used to spend a lot of our free time, if not together, than at least in close proximity. When ever we played tackle football, I used to pray that she’d be on the opposing team. That meant I’d get to tackle her. It was the only physical contact I could ever hope to have with her. There was a strange and vicariously sexual thrill to being able to roll in the grass with her, breathing heavily after chasing her down. Of course, being 11 years old, I was very aware of the concept of sex. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I could do to make it happen. My parents had never exactly helped me fill in the blanks on that one. Thankfully, I've been able to figure things out as the years have passed.

I wonder sometimes where Leanne ended up, and what she is doing with her life. More than anything, though, I wonder if she ever had any idea how often I used to lay awake at night thinking about her. Ah well, fourth grade, thankfully, was a long time ago. I certainly can’t complain about the present, but every now and then, I wonder- what if I had shaved my head?? Fortunately, committing ritual suicide never became necessary.

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Speedy Delivery

by eric at 07:30 PM on February 23, 2002

I might just have the fastest colon in the hemisphere. Either that, or I have a lot of food allergies I'm not aware of. Either way, my body has set itself up so that if any food is seen as a threat to the collective, the intestines don't waste time with a lot of namby-pamby digestion. I shoot that (for lack of a better word) crap straight to the exit airlock, located squarely at the back of the space station, if you know what I mean.

At least that's my theory.

I'm aware that normal people apparently take up to 36 hours for foodstuffs to digest and pass through their systems, but I'm convinced this is not the case for me. Yet how do I prove it? I'd like to find that I could just swallow some, say, purple food coloring next time I'm scarfing a mozzarella laden pizza and I'd be able to identify just how fast passage is taking. But I doubt that would work.

What I need is an off the shelf barium swallow kit with a hand-held X-ray system. I picture myself in the bathroom, sitting on the throne with a laptop balanced on the sink, while I try to shoot pictures of my gut with a handheld radar gun type unit attached via the USB port. It lets me watch as dinner makes it's way toward its final resting place. I'd call it "Intestine Tracker."

I can't be the only market for this. Can I?

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Is a Triple Lutz acceptable in mixed company??

by northstar at 09:29 AM on February 23, 2002

So the Russian curling team was defeated by the Insolvent Islamic Republic of Carjackistan 27-0, and now they’re caterwauling about fixed judging?? After years of the late USSR’s Big Red Machine, the Soviets (oops, the Russians) are finding out what it’s like to have to live and survive in a market economy. Not easy, is it, guys?? Well, sour grapes are for sore losers.

I watched the US hockey beat the Russians 3-2 last night. Though some of the Russian players complained afterward about what they viewed as poor and biased refereeing, they would do well to look in the mirror. If the Russians had played the first two periods the way the played the third, they would have blitzed the Americans on the order of something like 13-3. If you don’t show up for 2/3 of the game, you have no right to complain about the referees or anything else.

Now, I don’t know about the figure skating “controversy”. I‘m not smart enough to know how to objectively judge an event in which the competitors wear the $50,000 creations of Vera Wang. Put a stick in their hands and a helmet on their head, and you’ve got something I can relate to. Women’s figure skating makes about as much sense to me as the Miss America pageant. All it’s lacking is a swimsuit competition.

I suppose it’s possible that the judging was fixed to pass over the Russian skater, but who would go to that much trouble? Or is there some unwritten rule that says no one named “Irina” may win a figure skating gold medal? Right. And no skater should be allowed to wear a dress made by anyone named “Vera”.

My advice to the Russians is pretty simple: Get over yourselves. Stop your whining, or go home. I really don’t care. Just shut the hell up so I can get on with trying to figure out if I can find one of those curling stones at Home Depot. Game on!!!

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We Just Don't Get It

by jasmine at 03:19 AM on February 23, 2002

I was watching figure skating (an evil guilty pleasure of mine) when it went for a break. Who pops up on the screen but Bob Costas introducing some guy who will explain to us ignorant Americans that elusive sport (if you can call it that) known as Curling.

The guy goes on to explain why it is so big in Canada, and why everyone should love it. Then he goes on to talk about how some gold medal winning woman died and all of Canada mourned. Then he blabs on about how curling is the sport of the average unfit person.

That's all fine and dandy, but what in the hell is it! I have never had a bigger headache in my life, then while trying to figure out in the span of five minutes what is this 'sport' about.

The man didn't explain what in the hell is it. Whats with the brooms? Does that rock thingy have a name? Is there a point for the rock thingy getting to the end?
Why! Why! Why!

I don't fucking get it! Am I the only American who is so brutally confused about this? By the way I have a headache the size of Texas for even thinking about this.

comments (7)


the whine-a-thon continues

by bornfamous at 10:21 PM on February 22, 2002

Should I be telling you this? Probably not.

I should at least try to be witty, but I am so discouraged today, I don't know how. The editor of a good, regular writing job to whom I was recommended, and who expressed an interest in hearing from me, hasn't replied to my emails or phone messages. I don't know if I should keep pestering her or not.

I applied for welfare Tuesday, but they didn't tell me until today that it may take up to 45 days to be approved. They don't care about my rent on March 1st [and possibly April 1st], though they did give me emergency food stamps. When we're sleeping IN the carwash instead of next door to it, we'll have plenty of food to share with the possums and skunks.

[Now I must state that I don't feel guilty about the welfare thing. I have paid way more into the system than I will ever take out.]

Meanwhile, my grownup son called late last night and berated me for NOT SOUNDING WORRIED ENOUGH, and for not sending his 14-year-old brother out looking for work. I don't want to make him out to be a villain - he's helping as much as he can financially. I know that he's genuinely worried about us [and about getting stuck with supporting us completely] and this is his way of dealing with it. But I'm doing my best to stay up and positive so I can get some money coming in. Yelling at me is not helpful.

Too late - the fear was contagious over the phone. I woke up in a panic this morning, and then found out that I may have to wait 45 days for the first welfare check - this, after assuring son #1 last night that there would be no problem. Now I don't know whether to tell him about it or wait and see if the approval goes through in time, which is possible. Once I tell him, he's going to blow his top. I wish I wasn't so afraid of other people's anger.

Son #2 did apply for two jobs today, one at the nearby comic book store and at Blockbuster, but there were no openings. I checked on my applications to Arby's and Wings 'n Things, but the managers weren't in. We're trying to keep it in the neighborhood to save on bus fare, but we'll spread out soon.

I just seem to be running into roadblocks wherever I go. Maybe they're mental roadblocks but they're real. I know I have to start cold-calling editors of local publications, but I'm frozen with fear. I'm afraid I'll stammer the way I do when my older son is grilling me, and forget everything I want to say.

I can't seem to do anything in this panicked state of mind. My whole body feels like fear, the ache radiating out from my stomach to my arms and legs. Nothing seems to help, not deep breathing, not meditation. Okay, I didn't try yoga. I'm sure that would have worked, but I felt as though I shouldn't be wasting precious worry time.

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the olympics theme has no words, so just hum it to yourself now

by mg at 02:11 PM on February 22, 2002

They claim this is the most watched Olympics in years. They claim this is the most attended Olympics in years? But does anyone care?

I’ll admit, I watched about 20 minutes of the opening ceremonies. But I was shortly annoyed by the dumbfounding announcing duo of Katie Couric and Bob Costas. They may be the two cutest little folk in the country, but they are also the most mind numbing. After a couple minutes of watching them, all I wanted to do was head out to Utah, not to watch the games, but to chase after CouricCostas and try to find their Pot o’ Gold.

It was tough to concentrate on the opening ceremony with those two yaking, but really, what was there to see? A bunch of loser countries walking. Not even doing any sports. They were just walking. And they were losers.

What chance, really, does the Trinidad and Tobago Curling team have of winning a medal, when, of the 80 countries participating in the Olympics, 70% of the medals are won by 5 countries? Even if I cared about the Olympics, or, for example, Alpine Skiing, why would I need to watch Norway win another Gold medal?

NBC is showing what seems like 24 hour a day Olympic coverage.

I don’t know how much longer these Olympics are going to last, but I must see my must see TV. Is Doctor Green’s brain tumor back? Are Joey and Rachel going to get together? The only thing that is getting me through is the fact Friends is only on two more time a day in syndication. What’s worse than that is that all the other stations, bowing to the awesome viewing draw of the Olympics, have been running reruns for the past couple weeks.

I’d think, like NBC’s wonderful idea of running Playboy Playmate Fear Factor during the Superbowl, the other stations would likewise come up with great cross-programming ideas. For example, during Ice Dancing, while the entire female and homosexual male population is watching NBC, all any other station would have to do is show a hot gal in a bikini. She wouldn’t have to be do or say anything, just sit there. I know I’d be watching.

When a straight sport, like hockey, comes on, why not run the latest Barbara Streisand movie, or a prime time Oprah special? When youth-oriented sports, like snowboarding, come on, all a savvy network executive would have to do is run a marathon of Murder, She Wrote and Matlock. They wouldn’t even have to be new episodes; they could even be 12 year-old reruns and your target audience would never notice.

And when cross-country skiing comes on, well crap, you could put on anything, since having your pubic hair tweezed would be more enjoyable than watching cross-country skiing.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against the Olympics as an organization. It’s just the Winter Olympics have never excited me. Maybe it’s my third-world mentality, but I prefer the summer games. Women’s gymnastics. Women’s volleyball. Women’s tennis. Heck, I even enjoy watching women’s field-hockey.

Ah, only two years ‘till Athens, and I'm ready for some javelin tossing.

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They'll eat anything, anywhere, anytime.

by quicksilver at 11:05 AM on February 22, 2002

With names like Tsunami, The Doginator, Coon-dog, and Gaseous Maximus, you might expect these folks to show up on original WWF programming. They'd climb into the ring, and get their stuffing knocked out by the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the newly returned nWo. But no. They are athletes of a different caliber. They performed feats of strength that not even the sturdiest of Olympians could attempt. These were Glutton Bowl contestants. The sport of champions, each of the gladiators at this competition were award winners in their own right. Guinness World Record holders for most hotdogs, most pickled eggs, most hardboiled eggs, most cow... They all had something to prove. I'm not sure about you all, but stuffing some of the offal they had to eat down my gullet would not be worth the money they put up. What was on the list? More eggs than Cool Hand Luke ate, assorted whole cow tongue (3 friggin lbs (each!) of whole tongue), hot dogs, hamburgers, BUTTER, MAYONAISE, and sushi were the regular menu. The wildcard round was rocky mountain oysters. It was a pity I had made such a wonderful dinner last night. It was nearly wasted. The Final round turned out to be something that would probably kill all of the contestants. Sheep brain. And a little japanese guy won it. Go figure. Here guys and gals, go to town with this. Don't say I never give y'all any recipes.

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When they told me life isn't fair, they weren't kidding....

by northstar at 09:17 AM on February 22, 2002

I usually try to find the lighter side of life to comment on, but I have to get this out of my system….

I’m as tired of 9.11.01 as anyone else. I want to stop looking backward and start looking at the life that is still in front of me. Before I do that, though, I want to pay tribute to a friend. Tim Haviland was a classmate of mine at Macalester College in St.Paul, MN. I remember Tim as a wild-eyed, earnest, and brilliant young man, who was in equal parts arrogant, opinionated, and caring. Tim and I had been part of a close-knit group that began our college experience together, and more or less stuck together during our four years at Macalester. After graduation, we went our separate ways, off to change the world in whatever ways we could.

Shortly before our ten-year reunion, Tim called me to see if I would be going. Since I was living in Minneapolis at the time, it was no problem. I found Tim, and we spent the better part of a Friday morning walking around campus, catching up on our lives and the changes that had taken place at our alma mater. Our twenty-year reunion is this May, and I had been looking forward to seeing Tim and once again catching up on the changes in our lives. Sadly, I will not be afforded that luxury this time around.

You see, Tim was working for Marsh & McLennan on the 96th floor of One World Trade Center on 9.11.01. He likely never had a chance once the plane hit the tower. As far as I know, his body has never been found, but he did not make it out alive. Tim had recently remarried, as had I. Both of us, previously childless, found ourselves with two teenage stepchildren. It seemed that after some years of seemingly aimless wandering, we had found something new to focus on beside ourselves.

I had been looking forward to seeing Tim again. It would have been fun to compare notes on where life had taken each of us. It seemed both of us had grown up to be reasonably responsible and productive adults. Who would have guessed that would ever happen?

I will be at the reunion in May. I’ll have a good cry and remember my friend. I’ll remember the good times and the arguments and the times he helped me find my room when I was too drunk or stoned to navigate myself there. Most of all, I will consider myself blessed for having known Tim Haviland.

I will miss you, my friend. Vaya con Dios….

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i apologize in advance for this one

by lizard at 05:21 AM on February 22, 2002

well, well, here it is twentysecond february, ought two. can't seem to settle on whether or not i'll use captial letters posting here and truly who cares? apologies to snaggle, who probably hates this. it's how i type though, hard not to.

i am drinking far too much and this keeps me calmer and happier than i should be, really. i am having a hell of a hard time rationalizing life vs. hope, and i am not doing a whole lot of sleeping as a result. numbness: far too much for my own good but not enough to prevent me posting things like this here, utterly self-referential and quite possibly devoid of relevant content.

i want to be single. i want this more than anything, and the reason is so that i can become unsingle again, except in a way i can manage not to hate. i am so tired of making excuses when what i want to say is, it's not me, it's you. it's damage done long ago that cannot be undone. this is the sort of thing that doesn't belong here but has no where else to go, because posting about the depths of my internal conflicts has no place in any site he reads. on his days off i comment out the link to bad sam on my personal blog, which he reads. i have to completely refrain from airing these issues in my own personal space, and yet they must get out.

i want to be single, and following that, i have exactly in mind the individual with which i would like to become unsingle again. he doesn't read this space either, so i am safe (?).

i am in a very difficult time in life, in which the facts become increasingly pleasant while the feelings become more and more desperate, until i crash in the lavatory, crying, on almost a daily basis, or stay up till two-something, listening to jeff buckley and/or rufus wainwright singing hallelujah on the headphones. the resolution to these conflicts is completely impractical, and fantasies to that effect consume my days, until they are boiled dry of reason. i'm not functioning, yet no one can tell, looking at me. is this triumph or travesty? both, probably.

sorry about this, mg said i could post drunk. he did. really.


If you need me, I'll be in the john with this month's Playboy....

by northstar at 04:59 AM on February 22, 2002

Professional football is about to return to Texas, and some of us are stoked. Not me, mind you, but there are a few people here with way too much time on their hands. Just when people here had gotten the Oilers out of their systems, now we have been blessed with the Houston Texans. Of course, the team has been hyped beyond belief for the past year or so. What else could be done when you don’t actually have a team of real players to cheer for?

As if we needed it, now there will be even more spoiled, overpaid, and coddled professional athletes roaming the streets. Come September, the Houston Police Department will have to go into full “groupie control” mode. It won’t be pretty.

I get through my more melancholy moments by telling myself, “Oh well, you can’t afford tickets anyway….” This may or may not be true, but I feel better afterwards. The ticket prices aren’t the only hurdle; you first have to pay for the privilege of putting down yet more money to buy tickets. They’re called Personal Seat Licenses, where you spend an obscene amount of money for nothing save the right to spend yet more obscene sums of money. God, I love America! Where else would you have to pay simply for the privilege to be able to spend more money? And you thought Enron was top-notch when it came to separating people from their money? Au contraire, mon ami….

Come September, I’ll be in my easy chair, watching the Texans get blown out in the air-conditioned comfort of my own home. And the money I could have spent on Personal Seat License? Ah, maybe I’ll just make a down payment on a Lear jet….

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The Zeppelins are coming

by emma at 11:25 AM on February 21, 2002

Stop the Press, its finally arrived, that one special product all woman crave, thank you America for BUST BOOSTERS. The new and natural way to enhance your breasts, could you be tempted with a couple of enhanced Man Magnets? do YOU want vivacious breasts in 15-30 seconds? ........whoa there, erm did i hear you right, in what century did breasts become vivacious? i can see it now, hundreds of woman sauntering down the streets of the UK with animated and playful breasts, breasts so high spirited and effervescent that men (and woman) just can't tear their eyes away from them. Surely not?!
Wow, all this and more for a bargain £60 (hah), you too can have a 'boost of feminine power', and put an end to men looking you in the face when they talk to you.
*OK, stop right there! *
Do you want to know something? I already have my own boosts of feminine power and quite frankly i would kill for something a little less vivacious.
After extensive testing (about 5 minutes) on three women on breakfast TV today, it was concluded that the only thing this gel boosted was a guarantee of disappointment, along with sticky tits and a nasty rash.
Mmmm i'm just going to have to rush out and buy some, will you throw me off the nearest cliff if i ever do?

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for whom the liberty bell tolls

by michele at 09:06 AM on February 21, 2002

The FBI is probing an apparent threat to the Liberty Bell. Which reminds me of a story.

It was the 70's and colonial was all the rage in decorating. It must have been around the bicentennial. Everyone had dark wood furniture with red, white and blue slipcovers and colonial American artifacts placed around the house. Ok, maybe not everyone. But my mother did.

We had brick walls in the kitchen. Yes, brick walls. On one wall, in between the sink and the fridge, hung several of these colonial artifacts. A framed copy of the Declaration of Independence, a map of the colonies, and a 3-D replica of the Liberty Bell, mounted on a piece of wood.

My grandmother was over the house often. Grandma was crotchety and old and never had anything nice to say to my mother. She critcized her housekeeping, her parenting skills and her cooking on a daily basis. So one day she was over, standing in the kitchen and commenting to my mother on how messy the house was, how she never kept anything nice, how everything she touched turned to crap. Grandma then turned and pointed to the Liberty Bell replica.

"See," she said. "This is what I mean. That thing has had a crack in it since you got it. Get it fixed."

Yes, she was serious.

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Narcissistic Nabobs of Negativistic Nookie

by northstar at 04:33 AM on February 21, 2002

Foremost among the many wondrous things in the great state of Texas are the women. I know; my wife isn’t going to want to hear me say that, but it’s true. The women here are among the most attractive in the world. (Yes, dear, you really ARE one of them…) Of course, they happen to be some of the most materialistic, but that’s another story. So why, then, do so many women feel the need to lift, tuck, smooth, and just generally augment what nature has already endowed them with in such healthy abundance? (Of course, I’m not trying to attract a man, so I by definition “don’t get it.”)

While perusing this month’s issue of Texas Monthly magazine, I counted 20 pages of slick, glossy ads for cosmetic surgeons of various flavors. These folks will do it all: slice, dice, reassemble, you name it. I doubt that the handbook for the Witness Protection Program has more options available.

I should qualify this by admitting to my own little cosmetic peccadillo: I dye the gray out of my goatee. Hey, I know it’s shallow, but what the hell. I know I’m not 22 anymore, and it’s only a little bit of gray. What I fail to comprehend is the idea of actually undergoing a SURGICAL procedure- as in allowing someone with a white coat and a KNIFE rearrange various body parts.

The ads in Texas Monthly all seemed to portray cosmetic surgery as a way to better looks, greater vitality, and enhanced self-esteem (and of course being more attractive to men- no small thing in Texas). Of course, if it takes a boob job to enhance your self-esteem, I’d say you’ve got more issues than can be fixed by a knife-wielding cosmetic surgeon. Try to remember that it’s what is under the hood that keeps things running.

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Quarter-Life Crisis?

by jean at 03:22 AM on February 21, 2002

To the employment world, I'm a marketing writer. Four jobs into my career, and that is what I have become. It's been four years since I graduated college. Back then I was going to be a journalist. I was going to save the world, tell the truths that needed to be told, expose the scandals that needed to be exposed. And somewhere along the way I morphed into a marketing hack, one of a species which Dilbert says posesses only one strand of DNA. Why? Because marketing people are stupid enough to believe anything.

So how can I justify what I am now to the earnest young college student I met yesterday, the one who changed his major from English to Latin American studies because he wants to create social justice for his people? Social Justice. He thinks that maybe he will read Trotsky in the Russian, or Marx in the German. He's all fired up. I saw his face fall when, after thinking he'd found a comrade in a former Sociology major, found instead he had a corporate serf, a would-be spin-doctoring tool of the capitalist machine on his hands. Have I sold out?

I hadn't had time to explain to him then the economics of Sociology. There is an age-old question (okay, maybe not age-old): "What does a Soc major say after they graduate?" And the well-worn answer is, "Would you like fries with that?" For a while I escaped my fate as a Soc major. I had my own apartment and my own car, I had vacations to Europe and Asia. I had pricey clothes. I have a laptop. But do I, anymore, have my soul? I had never worried about this. But somebody tell me whether, for myself and all the other working drudges out there, the answer may be no?

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The Shortest Month of the Year

by jasmine at 03:14 AM on February 21, 2002

I was coming home from my classes today when I saw a homeless man on a street corner holding up a sign. The sign said in big blue letters " The F.B.I. is Jewish".

This made no sense to me what so ever. Is the F.B.I. Jewish? does that mean that everyone working for the F.B.I. is Jewish, or is it the organization itself. Was the organization originally Christian, then got bored and converted to Islam then converted to Buddhisim then Judaism....Wait, I could never imagine the F.B.I. as Buddhist. It is very obvious that I have put too much thought into this.

I was watching the news and this report came on about a couple from Lacey, Washington who have put a bid on Ebay for a quarter of a million dollars for a company to name their child. The child becomes a walking billboard for the company, and in exchange the parents put the money towards education for the child.

Is there anything wrong with this besides their child being a unwilling whore for capitalism? The mother to be said, (and I quote) " I would not have any problem calling my child Viagra".

Okay......Is it bad enough that whenever I think of Viagra, I have the mental image of Bob Dole talking about erectile dysfunction. But there is a possibility that a child may be a walking billboard for Viagra.

I can't wait to see the ass kicking that kid is going to receive on the playground.

On another less disturbing note, I just found out that David Duchovny will be back for the last two episodes of the X-Files series finale.

This is like the ultimate wet dream of a geek.

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Miscellaneous Meanderings

by jesus at 02:19 AM on February 21, 2002

My fellow Bad Samaritans surely lead interesting daily lives: one is likely off saving buxom, young damsels in distress from fire breathing dragons, another is probably somewhere in an African jungle fighting off hordes of monkeys while single handedly dragging medical supplies to a war torn village, and the others are probably doing whatever it is people with lives do when they're not writing for BS.

I, however, am not so blessed. And it's not like I woke up this morning and told myself, "Hmmm, I think I'll skip my regular dragon tussle and African aid mission today and sleep in", I've never fended off a dragon, not even once. So, that being the case, I'll just have to ramble about whatever comes to my mind, real stream of consciousness like.

Random Thought 1: This Skeleton thing they're showing on NBC seems interesting (read: dangerous); people diving head first and sliding down a track at 120 km/h could make for intriguing television. 120 km/h could equal 10 mph for all I know about the metric system, but it sure sounds fast. And if NBC ever decided to put Michelle Kwan on one of those things and send her down the mountain, I'd be almost compelled to watch it. I wouldn't actually go to Utah, mind you, for I fear being gunned down by the Mormon Mafia, but I would definitely put forth the effort required to turn on my tv.

Random Thought 2: Where exactly is Belarus? What is Belarus? Is it one of those former Soviet satellites that all went to hell when that communism thing fell through? And if so, why hasn't it tacked a "stan" or "slavia" onto the end of its name like all the others? I only mention this because the Swedish hockey team lost to Belarus, a country I didn't know existed until a couple days ago. You know, if the Swedish team was composed entirely of ancient Japanese warriors, they'd have all committed hara-kiri for shaming their country and ancestors.

Random Thought 3: I dunno which BS member is on that African mission, but could you bring me back one of those monkeys? I'd prefer it be free of AIDS and ebola and, to a lesser extent, fleas, but whatever you can grab and stuff in your nap sack is fine. I've always wanted a monkey of my own. Not only are they incredibly amusing, but smart too. Granted, a diseased monkey pulled from the heart of the African jungle might not display the same intellect and ability as say, one of those genetically engineered super monkeys developed for NASA, but beggars can't be choosers. If the token Knight in Shining Armour BS member wants to gimme their damsel, I'll accept that in place of a monkey.

Finally, I send out a fond happy birthday to Kurt Cobain. He would be 35 today.

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Urge to kill, rising.

by quicksilver at 04:30 PM on February 20, 2002

I sit here as I attempt to calm myself. No, I didn't look at my stock portfolio, although I suppose if I did, i'd be breaking out into a nervous sweat, rather than attempting to regulate my breathing. I am a victim of, get this: orneryness. There are people out there that are cranky enough to make me want to take their monitors, raise them high high high up in the sky, and crash them down on their heads. Then take their keyboards and hit the monitor with them.

Sample conversation:
"Hey, can you whenyougetaminutetrytoshowmehowto find this computerprogram that's on my computer because you never installed it in the firstplace you cocky IT techsupport guy who should be serving me hand and foot?"

Sure thing. Be right up.

"Can you get to itrightnow,because there are some important thingsI have to dolike waste your timeright now because you have absolutely no projects of your own to work on?"

*grumble softly* Yeah, sure, gimme a minute.

"Well I'm going upstairs nowwhy don't you come with me andshow me where the program is because I don't know where it is and its been on my computer thewhole time because you installed it fourteen monthsago and then I lost the ikon that was on my thingy, you know desktop."

*rolls eyes very very carefully*

It got better from there. No, I didn't help the planet this time, Captain Planet. I didn't remove that scourge from the face of the earth. I failed to raise her monitor in time. Then she moved.

Crap. I gotta work on my timing. Ah, the life of an IT professional. Its like dog-walking. You show them where to go, but don't have to pick up the poop.

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Domitae Naturae

by emma at 04:17 PM on February 20, 2002

Today a friend told me "Emma you get away with domestic murder!". I looked at my friend incredulous and intrigued as to what kind of domestic hell she inhabited with her partner, whilst contemplating my own fortunate position when it comes to chores and household tasks.

And no, i haven't been knocking off my significant other with a frying pan, or polishing his head (contrary to popular belief) with a rolling pin but apparently, when it comes to domestic chores, i'm the first to make a dash for the door and not with a duster.

During my teenage years i expounded on the importance of equality in relationships, that i would never see any man who didn't accept his share of household responsibilities.

It seems that in todays enlightened relationships when couples talk about equality they mean both partners sharing chores. Oops...i seem to have to have got the wrong end of the broomstick (as if), with retrospect i realise that my declarations of equality actually meant "you don't really expect me to clean do you" or "i just know you would look sexy with a vacumn and i reckon your a beast with a duster"

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Leaving Evidence is for Losers

by eric at 02:53 PM on February 20, 2002

I am now the owner of a paper shredder. It's a used model, given to me by the woman who house sits for me. She got it from another client she house sits for, but she didn't want it. I think it was too technical for her. She once told me that the location of the on-off switch for my kitchen garbage disposer – in the little fold out drawer in front of the sink basin – "freaked her out."

It's not a great shredder, and it smells somewhat like burning plastic when it's on, but it's given me insight into the minds of criminal oil company accountants.

Lets face it, when you've got paper in front of you and a shredder next to you, it's hard not to want to chip that pulp into... smaller pulp. It's a unique feeling of control to completely annihilate the material that archives our society. I'm drunk with power as I look at my bank card statement and think to myself, "My god, this information could same day be used against me and it should be destroyed!" Every scrap of tissue, every envelope with a window, every magazine blow-in card, every single page of the phone book – it's got to go to protect my future and that of my loved ones.

Thank you, Ken Lay. You've taught me so much.

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your father's still perfecting ways of making ceiling wax

by mg at 01:57 PM on February 20, 2002

I am experiencing what I can only imagine to be a complete and total nervous breakdown.

If you know me in real life you know me to be a very calm person. I don’t know if that piece of my personality comes through my writing, considering that my “the bad Samaritan” frenzy is a bit of a caricature, but the reality is I’m quite tranquil. My friends might say that nothing seems to faze me. That I always seem to have things together. I’ve got a calming demeanor and a soft voice.

Yet, underneath it all I’m as manic as a Monday with the Bangles.

It may not be evident, but my mind is always racing a millions miles a minute. I worry, I fret, I freak out, but I don’t let that come out.

The past couple crappy weeks (a subset of an entire crappy year) have been more rollercoasterish than a weekend pass to Six Flags. Sure, there was an equal ratio of good to bad (as far as I can tell, though I’m no Pythagoras), but the good wasn’t all that good and the bad was plenty bad.

The thought of going over everything again, here, now, in front of all of you, is enough to send me into another panic attack. Did I mention I’ve been having panic attacks?

I’m not practicing, but I try to live me life by some basic principles, one of which is the Zen ideal that you shouldn’t worry about things, because you have no control over them, and worry is therefore a wasted emotion. I agree, and I really do try to live my life that way.

This past year, suffering through unemployment for so long, it was a great comfort knowing I had no control over my life. I’ll either find a job or not. The rent will either be paid or it will not. Worrying about it won’t change a thing.

But, yet, somehow, I don’t know. The part that never jives with me is having “no control” over my own life. I know worrying doesn’t make a difference, but I do have control over my life. If you just let life carry you where it will, like a fallen leaf on a stream, you may not end up where you’d like in the end.

For the past year, I’ve been letting life carry me away, and I’m certainly nowhere I’d like to be. I sent out hundreds of resumes, but the job search was passive. When I started this recent temp work, it wasn’t me who found the job, but the job that found me. I did it because it was something to do, and because I really needed the money.

I’ve been drifting aimlessly in my interpersonal relationships as well. Letting others make all the decisions and do all the work. It didn’t matter if loved someone or not, but whether they loved me. With my friends, I didn’t put in any effort. I’d go out when asked, but that’s why I spend most Saturday nights, home, alone and watching Boy Meets World.

Things came to an almost cinematic head the other day. I’d been letting everyone and everything make the decisions about my life but me. Event after event after event, all in the span of a couple of days kept knocking me to the ground. And then yesterday morning, I had a panic attack that physically knocked me to the ground.

When I finally was able to stand up, both physically and mentally, and look around at where I’d let life carry me. The tiny estuary my leaf had fallen had carried me right into the mouth of sewage treatment plant, and I wasn’t going to come out clean on the other side. No, at this plant it was shit in shit out. I realized this was someplace I really didn’t want to be.

That realization certainly doesn’t get me anywhere closer to my final destination, or help me figure out what the final destination might be, but at least I know which way is the wrong direction, and I won’t end up smelling like shit.

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Post Partum Polemical Posturing

by northstar at 08:49 AM on February 20, 2002

To quote the immortal Mark Slackmeyer (apologies to Garry Trudeau): “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!”

Paula Yates’s murder trial began on Monday, though the race to mold public opinion has been underway for months. There are more people in Houston with an axe to grind than you’d find on ESPN2 at the Hayward Lumberjack Festival. It’s like a convention of spin-doctors, and I’m getting dizzy from trying to follow the rhetoric. For me, though, there is nothing to spin. It’s really a very simple equation. Paula Yates, by her own admission and all the available evidence, murdered her children (Is there a more heinous crime?) End of story; go directly to the electric chair. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

I’m not an expert in the realities of post-partum depression, and I certainly don’t want to denigrate the legion of women who suffer (or have suffered from it.) I do have a question, though: should post-partum depression be used to make a case against the death penalty? I don’t think so. You don’t drown five small children and stack them on your bed like firewood, only to come back later and say “Oh, by the way, I was beyond crazy when I did that.” It strains credibility past the breaking point.

I’m no advocate of the death penalty, but it is the law in Texas, and as such should be enforced. If anyone EVER deserved to be given the death penalty, it is Andrea Yates. From Day One, as this case has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime, this reality remains unchanged: Andrea Yates methodically murdered her five children. She then calmly called her husband and the police. Despite her husband’s misguided efforts to defend her, and a creepy website dedicated to their children, Andrea Yates is guilty of capital murder. She has earned herself an all-expenses-paid trip to the electric chair.

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Batman smells...Robin laid an egg...mmmm...eggs

by jesus at 02:22 AM on February 20, 2002

As I write this, there's a strong likelihood that these wonderful things are occuring somewhere in the world: police brutalizing minorities, African children starving and falling dead in the streets, and people in India succumbing to The Plague. I'm used to the racial beatings and starving children, I hear about it constantly, but that li'l tidbit about The Plague is of some interest.

Any time there's news about India, it gives me a chance to reflect upon the humour (aren't I cultured? With an extra "u"!) I manage to find in all situations. I've never been to India, and I'm sure it's a wonderful place, what with the mostly eradicated diseases and violent border wars and constant threat of nuclear annihilation, but I've heard there's lots of cows wandering around. And cows are undeniably funny animals. I'm assuming the cow thing is true, much like I assume it's true that polar bears lurk in the streets of Canada and Australia is comprised entirely of huggable bears and bouncy marsupials.

Anyway, there is a Sacred Cow, and I think I ate it for lunch. As an American, it's my duty to consume vast quantities of cow, cow that was likely brutally slaughtered, drained, cut up, grinded, packaged, possibly fried, and hopefully served safely from a Jack In The Box drive-thru window. There are those who refuse to eat meat, and though they prefer to be called vegetarians, I often refer to them as "inhuman monsters", the least American of all peoples.

This country was built on the slaughter of and eating of delicious animals, usually with both parts being performed by a gun toting hillbilly. And to refuse to eat that meat is tantamount to spitting on the American flag, tearing it into itsy-bitsy pieces, stomping on it, setting it aflame, and pissing on the ashes. Eating meat is the most American of all practices, just above the phenomenon known as pro wrestling.

The next time you go to your local burger joint, remember, that heart stopping burger in your hand isn't just a slab of meat and a couple of buns hastily tossed together by an aloof teenager, it's a slice of Americana. So stand tall, and if your heart stops beating and you fall dead with partly masticated cow hanging from your mouth, then you can die proud, knowing that you're a true American.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

If there are any people I didn't manage to offend, please let me know. I tried to cover my bases here, though I noticably left the French and Polish out, simply for the sake of keeping this under a thousand words. Don't burn me at the stake, please.

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Financial Follies for the Fickle Fanatics

by northstar at 07:55 PM on February 19, 2002

I have a much different perspective on the Enron scandal than most people. I work for a consulting firm in Houston. My company had been working on contract at Enron Energy Services for about a year or so, ending on 9.15.01. I was there for the last three months; just about the time things began to get weird. One of our jobs was to help streamline the invoicing process. It proved a very difficult assignment, because to do it, we had to determine where the money came from. We never could, nor could EES employees shed any light on it for us. Generally speaking, EES employees were so compartmentalized that it became a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. In some cases, there was only a dim awareness that there even WAS a right hand. Their salespeople made any deal they could get someone to sign, collected their bonus, and then let someone else worry whether or not the deal was even profitable. In most cases, EES deals were hugely unprofitable.

At the time, we wrote the chaos and confusion off to the “Enron Culture”, where things happened on the fly, and the rules seemed to be made up as they went along. In retrospect, we were in the belly of the beast, without even realizing that we had stumbled upon the problem. No one knew where the money went because it was been shifted into different partnerships that had been set up to hide huge losses. EES, a company that had been trumpeted as the most profitable vanguard of the Enron juggernaut, was in fact a shell, losing money faster than anyone could have imagined. I suppose it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, and we were smack in the middle of the trees.

It’s sad to think that a local company that seemed so tremendously successful reached the pinnacle by $&^#*%@ its employees. I’m lucky; I left with a job that I still have. Many of the people I worked with and for were not so lucky. When Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, et. al., look at themselves in the mirror, I wonder what they see? Only one executive seemed to have something resembling a conscience to contend with. He ended up losing that battle and putting a bullet in his head- a sad but oddly appropriate response to a complete moral and ethical meltdown.

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I forgot to make a title for this

by jasmine at 05:18 PM on February 19, 2002

I was watching t.v. the other day when I suddenly noticed what has to be the most demeaning event to be broadcast, no it's not The Miss America Pagent or Who want to be a Millionaire. The 126th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

It just sounds snooty doesn't it?

Not only does it look like a pain in the ass for the dogs, who appear as if they are being strangled by those little leashes, but it's hilarious to see how they are so pampered and made all foofy (yes thats a word). All of the dogs are seperated into a group based on what there general purpose is (i.e. working, toy, sporting, non-sporting). You get the idea.

Now, I got to thinking, what if the Miss America Pagent was similar to a dog show in that all of the contestants were seperated into the same groups. Can you imagine the working group? Would it be made up of prostitutes or just the average waitress? What about the non-sporting group? No wait, that would just be the Miss America Pagent. The toy group....I don't even want go to there.

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And we're off.

by quicksilver at 11:28 AM on February 19, 2002

I think I've been on a language kick ever since we had a post at Papa Bad Sam regarding "Irish American" and "African American" stereotypes. We fell into ebonics, the wonderfully bastardized version of English that ghetto kids supposedly use to communicate around their oppressors. Its sorta like a code. I've found several instances of this in real life, apparently. A few days ago while travelling to work, I found this gem scrawled on the wall at Grand Central Station:


I just searched through the dictionary, and didn't find a damn reference to polic. Check out the rest of that site to finally git da four-eleven on all dat shiz. And to think I had a hard time earninglay igpay atinlay. (I was also wondering who the polic bitch was, for about ten seconds. Hey, I'm slow in the morning.)


tin can charities

by michele at 09:54 AM on February 19, 2002

So there I am in 7-11 this morning, making a small purchase of milk and a buttered roll. I get to the counter and notice a bunch of cardboard shamrocks laid out, with a slew of markers next to them. This set up is familiar. They had it at my bank, at the grocery store, at every deli within a 6 mile radius. So I know what's coming. I avoid the gaze of the man at the register. Doesn't matter. He starts his spiel anyhow.

"Buy a Shamrock for Muscular Dystrophy?"
"I already bought 5 at my bank," I say. And this is true. I bought 5, for a dollar a piece, took the markers and wrote "in memory of" and the names of five firefighters in the blank spaces provided.
"Well this isn't the bank. Buy some from here." He looks menacing. He looks like an ex-marine.
"Listen," I say. "I already donated 5 dollars to the cause. Does it matter which place I gave it at?"
He glowers and throws my change down on the counter. I leave, knowing this isn't the last time it will happen.

Two weeks ago it was hearts at K-Mart. Before that there were snowflakes at Friendly's and Christmas ornaments at the diner. There's the supermarket cashier who tells you that she can automatically add a dollar to your order to your order and it will be donated to the hungry kids of America and the veterans who sit outside shopping malls selling pins.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against giving to charities. I do it often. I just don't want to be bombarded with it all the time. I don't want to be made to feel guilty if I don't give to every single person that approaches me. You go into any deli, and the counter is lined with tin cans plastered with pictures of dying animals and sick kids. And sure, I feel bad for sick kids. But yesterday there was a donation can at the bagel place with a picture of sad-looking Jeremy, who is suffering from cancer. Call me a cynic, but Jeremy look suspiciously like little Todd from the diner who is dying of a rare genetic disorder, who in turn is the spitting image, down to the dirty Pokemon t-shirt, of little Bradley at the smoke shop who has leukemia. Oddly enough, if you put a pink dress on Bradley, he could be the twin of little Gretchen who wants your donations for the homeless shelter. And don't get me started on the animals. That can with the sickly, mangy looking cat and dog? I'll donate money to them only if it's for pet euthanasia, because those animals don't look like they really want to be alive.

The proliferation of money boxes and tin cans and seasonal cardboard cut outs has had a negative effect on me. I choose not to look at the faces of the kids on the cans. I choose not to cry over the disease ridden animals or hear the cry of the endangered water rat. I'll give when I can, and to whom I want to give to. Don't get all up in my face about it, or I'll start checking out the donation cans on your counter and tracking down where that money really goes to.

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with an iron fist and a reptitle hiss we shall rule!

by mg at 08:44 AM on February 19, 2002

So many children grew up with G.I. Joe, and especially the long running cartoon (you know, knowing is half the battle). But, I'm guessing very few of you had anything to do with the comic book version, much less were as impassioned about it as I me.

I collected comics until I was well into high school. Sure, it’s a little bit geeky for a high school student to be collecting comic books (which is why I started smoking, you know, just to balance things out), but it’s hardly abnormal. However, cartoons and comic books weren’t the extent of my infatuation; I also collected G.I. Joe action figures well into my teens.

Now, let me make this abundantly clear, when I say “collected” I don't mean it in the way Star Wars fans collect action figures; I actually took them out of the box and played with them, just as God (a.k.a. Hasbro) intended. These figurines weren’t kept, shrine-like in their acid-free cardboard and plastic boxes, enclosed in perpetuity. No, the Dreadnaughts battled with Duke, Snake Eyes and Lady Jaye on an almost daily basis.

Sure, by the time I hit my teens, the battles they were fighting weren’t as simple as merely good versus evil; these were morality tales, on par with anything in Charles Dickens or John Grisham. And I may have not been the first to put GI Joe Porn online (link is broken), but I was probably one of the first to play that way. Don’t worry, the Joes always used protection, they kept a grenade launcher on hand just in case Cobra attacked.

Anyway, the whole point is to say that I was really into GI Joe.

Even if you were really into GI Joe too, you probably didn’t read the end of the original comic book series (which explains why it was the end of the original comic book series). Cobra, the evil organization bent on world domination, were legitimizing their operations. Cobra was becoming a multi-national corporation, still bent on world domination. Only now, they were taking over the world using acceptable business practices (French fries and cheaply made shoes), rather than by creating super-beings by combining the DNA of Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Attila the Hun and Hannibal (the elephant guy, not the A-Team guy).

The legitimate Cobra operations were run out of a corporate headquarters, presumably located somewhere in Midtown Manhattan. Their building looked like every other damn skyscraper in New York City. Even though they were going legitimate, they were still Cobra. They, of course, still had a hair brained scheme or two up their sleeve, like Dr. Mindbender’s mind-controlling machine, hidden on the top floors of Cobra headquarters.

Now, I’m working as a consultant with one of the largest corporations in the country. I used to consult with Ford, one of the biggest companies in the world, but I only occasionally went on site. Now, I’m at corporate headquarters every day.

This is a big, scary building. Security is almost as tight as post September 11th United Airlines flight. I haven’t been patted down yet, or asked to remove my shoes, but I do have to empty my bag every time I go in the building. And this building is big. I take three different elevators to get from my desk to the corporate cafeteria. Cripes, they even have a corporate cafeteria (two, actually).

I’ve been there less than two months, and I get instantly lost if I don’t follow an exact path from desk to bathroom and back. Yesterday, despite it being a national holiday, I was in the office trying to get a bit of work done. Since no one else was in the building, some doors that are normally open were now closed. I had to wander around a bit before finding my way to my desk. As I was wandering around, I think I stumbled onto a mind-controlling machine.

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Yeah, I got some accidental wisdom on my shoe yesterday, and man did it stink

by billegible at 08:12 AM on February 19, 2002

I cannot believe that the moronic things said by Bush when he doesn't have a script or has memorized it badly, the latest of which had an alarming effect on another nation's currency, are being spun by his handlers as "accidental wits and wisdom".

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Call them the Diamond Dogs

by emma at 04:53 AM on February 19, 2002

Only in Britain can you get a bunch of so called 'sophisticated, cunning and daring' robbers planning the biggest heist in years, to smash and grab 200 million quids worth of diamonds from the Millenium Dome.
How were these dare devil criminals going to pull it off? Well they had to get themselves an inside man of course.
I wondered to myself how did they find this insider? Was it through cunning and meticulous research of his criminal background, or was it via their sophisticated underground contacts? Oh no nothing so fabulous for these boys who told police later that it was some bloke who looked "a bit like Vinnie Jones" and they'd met him in a pie and mash shop on the Walworth Road.

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Cynical Bastard Parking Only

by michele at 04:42 PM on February 18, 2002

I went to the supermarket this morning. Zoomed around the parking, bypassed the 4 handicap spots and attempted to zoom into the first available empty slot. And then I had to slam on my brakes. There was a sign there, looking much like the handicap sign except it said:

Parking for Expectant Mothers Only.

Fine. I can understand that. I back out and realize that three spots are set aside for expectant mothers. I try for the next spot and I'm greeted by another sign:

Parking for Shoppers with Small Children Only.

Damn. I left mine home. Now I'm forced to drive around and look for a spot that's not three counties away. Half the parking lot has been taken away with specialized parking. And I can only imagine what's coming next.

Parking for Elderly People Only (must have AARP sticker)
Parking for People Who Are Just Running In for One Thing
Reserved for Lincoln Navigators (extra large spot for those vehicles that are larger than most double wide trailers)
This Spot for Asshole Parking Only (extra large spot for those people who think their Corsica deserves two spots.
Crazed Stalker Parking (so you can sit in your car and watch your prey shop)

Someday I will get to the grocery store and see that there is nowhere left for me to park. No parking for the non-pregnant, without children, under senior citizen age shopper. I'll either have to bring my mother or my kids with me when I go food shopping, neither of which is a fun prospect. I want a parking space for myself, damn it.

Some day when I rule the world you will go to the supermarket and there will be parking lots with signs that say "This Spot Reserved for Women With PMS." And all the other spots will have signs that say "Walk the ten extra feet, bitch."

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the wedding dress was the cure

by chunshek at 04:39 PM on February 18, 2002

You know it's a good psychology class when I have something to say.

The year was 1987. There was a huge AIDS awareness campaign in Hong Kong, where I'm from. There were PSAs on TV, talking about the three ways to contract HIV: from mother to a child, intravenous drug use, and sexual contact.

I was 6. I understood quite a lot already. Since I was from a single-parent family, my mother taught me about the differences between the two genders, and how procreation worked. But then again, I was 6. There were tons of things I didn't understand. AIDS was one of them. I knew it was a disease with no known cure. I knew diseases were spreaded by batteria and viruses. I understood how an illness could be passed on from a mother to a child, and by sharing a needle. But I did not understand the "promiscuous behaviors" they talked about on TV. So I asked:

Me: What does "promiscuous behavior" mean?
Mother: Well, it means people have sex casually. You should not have sex before you got married.

For the next 5 years, I kept wondering what differences a wedding ceremony could make. I honestly thought that people who had sex before they got married would get AIDS, and people who had sex after they were married would not. I believed there was a certain mechanism by which you can disable the contraction of AIDS via sexual contact. I just didn't know what.

Much thanks to traditional beliefs, my psych class now knows me as the-kid-who-once-thought-the-wedding-dress-was-the-cure.

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The Lining of a Bird Cage

by jasmine at 04:05 PM on February 18, 2002

So, today being Presidents Day you would thing I would sit back and think about all that makes this country great right? Wrong. I'm goin' down under and try to explain this Australian cultural phenomenon called Vegemite. See that? yes there is even a website devoted to it.

What is it really? A salty yeast extract that looks like bird poop, and it has the largest supply of vitamin B possible. They eat it on toast and It's supposed to "Put a rose on every cheek" and best of all it tastes like crap. Okay, at least it does from my American tastebuds.

I'm not knocking it despite it's taste, although I would like to use it to torture people with. But, what makes it so great? What drives people to like it so much, they create a theme song about it? And why in England is it called marmite?


My friend Brendan and I stayed up until three o'clock last night talking to people from Australia who love it so much, yet can't give us a good enough reason why. I think it's that whole southern hemisphere thing. If anyone gets a chance to taste it, let me know I want pictures.

The Worst part about vegemite is that Kraft makes it. I trust these people with my cheese!

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Best Behavior

by eric at 10:46 AM on February 18, 2002

I was in the parking lot of Universal Studios in Florida when I realized I'm just as two-faced as any woman.

I should explain: what I'm referring to is the ability of every woman in my life, from my Mom on down, to be pissed as hell at me, ready to eviscerate me using nothing more than a ragged-edged pinky nail because I did A or didn't agree with their opinion of B, yet when a third party enters the picture, whether live or on the phone, said irate female suddenly become the poster child of syrupy sweetness.

Last week, the Wife and I were on vacation in Florida with our friend Joe. He happens to own a house down there, so we stayed with him for free, yet forced him to do our bidding, such as attending theme parks. I've never been on vacation with a friend of mine, but I found it kept the Wife and me both on our best behavior. I didn't know how much until we were in that lot.

I can't remember what she said or did but it instantly got my hackles up, and I started to raise my voice. It was time for a verbal racking over the coals. I mentally prepared my finest nasty barbs and was set to loose them... and then she gave me a look. Not her usual fightin' looks of "you're an idiot" or "I can't stand you right now." This look was more like, "Please... not now. Please. We're in front of 'company'."

My primate brain knew exactly what was going on: she's wants it to appear we have some kind of perfect marriage. What's the point? We fight! We're damn good at it. Sometimes we even make up. That's marriage, for Christ's sake. I almost plowed ahead with my verbal assault just to prove that point.

But I didn't.

As I drove us from Orlando to Tampa, I realized it was kind of nice to be on my best behavior; I always loathe the screaming and yelling far more than the catharsis it can bring. Still, I felt I'd turned my back on a fundamental part of our relationship.

Luckily, once we got home, it wasn't long before I was screaming at her again in the airport parking lot. Ah, marriage.

comments (2)


Earl Grey with wings

by emma at 10:23 AM on February 18, 2002

Care in the community in my town means that the more able of the mentally unstable can live and roam happily with relative independance with the occasional care worker visit. Occasional could mean once a year, else why is it a local man (apparently infamous within certain healthcare circles) was restrained in Accident & Emergency after brandishing an axe, threatening all kinds of horrific acts (thoughtful, ensuring all victims immediate healthcare). He was carted off to the local psychiatric institute where he was asked what he was doing with an axe, his reply was 'he really wanted a cup of tea'. So why didn't he just ask for a cup? He thought that by being a nuisance that the local police would come and pick him up and once at the station he would get a cup of tea.

A little history.....lets call our axe man Bob, who suffers terribly from Manic Depression, who after years of treatment, fell in love with (we'll call her) Brenda, who was a schizophrenic, and in their own way lived happily ever after. Bob said "for years they gave me lithium without success and then they gave me Brenda"

Back to the tea saga, hospital staff at the psychiatric institute knew Bob and Brenda and asked him why he didn't just make himself a cup of tea at home or even ask Brenda, he said "i would have but Brenda has been boiling her sanitary towels in the kettle."

comments (4)


Mental Masturbation for Malevolent Maladroits

by northstar at 09:17 AM on February 18, 2002

I’ll begin by saying that I’m aware what a minefield the subject of race is- especially for a confirmed white boy like me. I am concerned by a double standard I see all around me. February is Black History Month; OK, I can accept that, but can you imagine the outcry if we were to create a WHITE History Month? Why is it acceptable to celebrate the heritage of one ethnic group, but celebrating another puts the celebrants at risk of being called racists? All I'm looking for is a single standard we all can live by.

A good example of this is yesterday's issue of our beloved Houston Chronicle. The Editorial section featured this article: "An overdue salute to our black fighting men". In the Lifestyle section: "Black memorabilia runs the gamut from racist to inspirational." The front page also featured an article about racism at Texas A&M University. These may all be worthwhile subjects. Imagine this, though: "An overdue salute to our WHITE fighting men"? The author would be burned at the stake.

I'm as opposed to racism as anyone out there. Judging a person by the color of their skin is repugnant. But why is it acceptable to deny Whites the opportunity to celebrate their heritage that is afforded to Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, etc.?

Racism is not exclusively White. It is part and parcel of the human condition. People feel more comfortable with people who look and act like themselves- that's human nature. It becomes a problem when skin color or ethnicity is used as a measuring stick. I know from experience that Blacks and Asians can be every bit as racist as Whites, but these groups can be openly racist in a way that no White person ever could. Why is this acceptable? Until we as a society learn to value people for WHO THEY ARE instead of the color of their skin, Americans will tolerate this repugnant double standard. Just what did the Civil Rights movement accomplish?

Crucify me if you wish for expressing opinions that are politically incorrect. I can live with that. Just don't tell me that what I've expressed is not an accurate portrayal of the realities of race relations in this country.

comments (7)


In other words

by michele at 08:30 AM on February 18, 2002

Sometimes I don't mean what I say. Or I don't say what I really mean. Case in point:

When I say to someone "I'm sorry you can't help me out with this project right now, we really could have used your help," what I mean is:

Die, you fat pig.

And when I say to someone "No, it's ok that you dumped your work on me, I don't mind at all," what I mean is:

Die, you fat pig.

And when I say "Die, you fat pig," what I really mean is:

I will kill you yet, Britney.

comments (2)


this is the strange love a star woman teaches

by mg at 08:07 AM on February 18, 2002

Welcome. Wipe your feet on the mat and leave your shoes at the door; the rug and all the furniture is white, and we haven't scotch-guarded yet.

I could make some sort of big introduction, burn lots of words, and bore the heck out of most of you. Instead, I'll let things speak for themselves.

Except, of course, I'll mention you should give praise (or other otherwise) on the layout, take a look around and say hello to the rest of the staff (who, I'm sure, are mostly new faces to most of you), and let me know if you run into any problems here.

Okay, one more thing, I encouraging you all to link up Bad Samaritan: The Next Generation. Even if you think it sucks (which, of course, it doesn't). I have no doubt this crazy experiment will become as engaging as all get out, but we need your help in brining people to engage. Okay?

Okay, welcome, thanks for stopping by, and have fun!

comments (4)


beyond the rim of the star-light, my love is wand'ring in star-flight

by mg at 07:53 AM on February 18, 2002

Bad Samaritan is very nearly a year and a half old. As oft mentioned, it’s not exactly what I thought it’d be when I started. Yet, I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

Still, I want more.

When I called for more Samaritans about a month ago, I got more than a dozen applicants; more than I’d ever received or ever expected to. And these were quality applicants. Maybe not big blog stars, but people who were such excellent writers that they certainly deserve to be adored by dozens.

So, I thought, why not give them all that chance?

Like I said, though, as much as I bitch about this place, I love what it has become. I don’t want to throw off the delicate balance it’s taken all this time to create. I decided to throw of the balance of the entire blog world instead. Please welcome to the world (cue sweeping music and cheesy special effects) Bad Samaritan: The Next Generation.

The way I’ve been thinking about all this is that this site will still be the personal narrative oriented and introspective Bad Samaritan you know and love. Bad Sam: TNG won’t be so quite narcissistic. It will acknowledge the world around and actually be reactive to it.

The posts will be shorter, more frequent, and just a little bit more fun. Generally speaking, there will be more about links, news, and opinions. Writing style and post topics will, of course, follow in the Bad Samaritan spirit.

Maybe you should think of it as what’d happen if Bad Sam and Metafilter had a baby that wasn’t quite so big and wasn’t quite so snarky. Or something.

At any rate, I could go on and on here about this and that, and I’m sure I eventually will. But right now, I want you to go over there and take a look, say hi to the new faces, and poke around the place.

More importantly (well, I guess, equally important), I want you all to link up the new blog. If someone can make it onto the Blogdex and Dapop hot lists for creating life, certainly the creation of a new blog deserves to be at the top of those lists. Say something along the lines of “From the people who brought you Bad Samaritan comes The Next Generation.” Or, you know, whatever words you’d like to use.

So, okay, what are you still doing here? Link and go. Link and go. Link and go.

comments (3)


better than nothing?

by lizard at 01:16 PM on February 17, 2002

It's quiet. TOO quiet. Is it just me, or is the blog world in general in a bit of a slump? I look at Surreally and at Bad Sam, two rather large group blogs, and I see that in the last three days, out of thirty three total authors, exactly two have posted. I'm not raising that total, since I'm also the only one who posted at Surreally.

Maybe everyone's life is too great right now and they have no time to post? Or maybe life is sucking for all of us, that's also a possibility.

Take my life: yesterday, while taking out the trash, I broke a bottle. And of course I stepped on a rather large piece of glass, large enough that it took me three tries, tugging at it while standing on one foot in my backyard, to get it out. Limped back into the house, trailing copious quantities of blood. Got a paper towel for the floor and stood on it because I was also cooking dinner, and I have no bandaids.

Chris gets home, makes up a bandage for my foot (oh, how sweet, right?), eats the dinner. Note that we have ongoing issues with him refusing to ever go to the store under any circumstances. We have this conversation:

me: [summing up the conversation up to this point] Ok, so in spite of my foot, you want me to go to the store, get munchies and cigarettes for you, pay for them, even though you had the car all day and you've messed up my seats and mirrors just to drive three blocks to work?

him: Yeah.

me: [has minor conniption fit]

him: Well, I won't bug you for sex.

me: Done! [scampers off to the store. Well, perhaps scampers is too strong a word, more like, hobbles happily]

So there it is, the sad and sorry state of affairs that is my life. As far as posts go, is this better than nothing? I can only hope.


comments (9)


Sweet, Sweet Paranoia

by jesus at 04:42 AM on February 17, 2002

Boxcutters: $3
Fertilizer: $15
Retarded 30 Second Superbowl Spot: $2 million
Endless Hours of Resulting Hilarity: Priceless

The brilliant people in charge of misled marketing campaigns have decided to combine the war on drugs and the war on terrorism into one happy package, as my fellow Americans love to kill those two proverbial birds with one proverbial stone.

I'm sure mothers everywhere are frantically pulling out their hair and running around in irregularly shaped circles, worrying that their little Jimmy or Bobby or Shareef-Ahmad Harrid III has joined up with the Al Qaeda network.

As Our Fearless Leader has made clear, there will be no distinction made between the terrorists and those who support them, essentially making every college age homosapien a potential target. Personally, I'd like this subject to be further expounded upon, as many questions have been left unanswered.

For instance: If one has bought drugs in the past, is he still considered a terrorist? If the answer is yes, then how are we going to track down all those free-lovin' drugged up hippies who "came of age" in the '60's? And does this mean that our own president is a terrorist ('member the pre-election coke uproar?)? And what happens when we catch a terrorist? Should we contact the police department? The CIA? The NRA, FFA, or NAACP?

Unfortunately, these queries, and many others, have thus far gone unanswered. Yet as always, it's probably best to err on the side of caution, which means a call to your local authorities/Dunkin' Donuts is in order if you suspect someone is associated with the trafficking of illicit substances (Colombia is one colossal terrorist, but it's mostly ignored due to the absence of beards and turbans).

Your buddy's older brother Derek sold you a dime bag?
He's probably a terrorist, as are you.

You saw a new-age tree hugger walking down the street in all hemp clothing?100% pure bred terrorist.

Your half-blind Grandfather has a stash in his drawer?
Wha? Afflicted with glaucoma? Ha! I'm on to you, druggy.

Previous to this campaign, I was painfully unaware what stoners did when they weren't consuming copious amounts of Doritos and staring at shiny objects, but now I know of their unscrupulous activities. And finally, I'm starting to see things like my government, because when you get right down to it, is owning a hash pipe really that different from hijacking a school bus, killing the passengers, then driving it into an orphanage and killing numerous children?

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Enjoying the view from the cheap seats

by northstar at 11:27 PM on February 16, 2002

So Sale and Pelletier got their golds after all. I suppose it didn't hurt that they are attractive, white, and North American? Can anyone honestly say that the media outcry would have been the same if S&P had been, say, Korean or Japanese??

This is figure skating we're talking about here, kids. Any activity that requires spandex and sequins shouldn't be considered a sport- much less an Olympic sport. Give them a stick and a puck- THEN you've got a sport. I wonder if S&P could throw a decent hip check??

comments (2)


i'm insane to complain about a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt

by mg at 01:06 PM on February 15, 2002

Well, you may have noticed the site was down for several hours this morning. Why? Who the hell knows?

The problem was that access to all cgi (backend scripting) was disabled. No, Perl, and more importantly, no PHP. This site uses a large number of PHP scripting and includes to work. This site would be impossible without the sweet sweet nectar of life that is PHP. So, with cgi access disabled, nothing works.

If you came to the site whilst it was down, you were prompted to download a file, because the webserver couldn?t understand the PHP extension on all the pages. It?s kind of like if you tried to watch a video of Chu Mei Feng having sex with a married man, but you didn?t have Quicktime installed on your computer. Your computer would get all frustrated because it didn?t know what to do, just like the web server was doing this morning.

You may remember this same thing has happened before. Last month Bad Samaritan was sucking off too many server resources, so they shut it down on purpose. It took three days of begging, and finally just me pulling down my pants and bending over before they?d reinstate my account, as long as I promised to nix karma voting and wear a French maid?s uniform. No problem, whatever I have to do.

A couple days later, it happened again, for no reason this time. They offered no explanation, other than they had been doing some server upgrades, and forgot to enable my account. Fine. Not very professional, but I was grateful I didn?t have to give anything up this time, and I wasn?t going to get fucked in the ass again, I was only just able to sit down again without discomfort.

And now, this morning, it happened again. I sent a quick email to kd, who, through her reseller account with the Web Hosting Company to Remain Nameless, graciously hosts Bad Samaritan (for cheap, no less!). I then had to wait four hours for her to wake up. Damn time zones, why must you always betray me?!

When she woke up, she contacted tech support. Here is their response:
CGIs are not disabled for Please explain the problem your encountering.

At this point, kd responded for me. She wrote a much more professional letter than I would have at that moment. Let?s just say I?m glad she is on my side:
Instead of executing the CGI it offers to let you download the file. this is how things behaved when you had shut them down the last two times. also other scripting is NOT running because if you go to any page with a .php extension, it offers to let you download the page. again, same as last two times.

If I were writing that email, there?s probably have been a higher incidence of the word ?fuck.? I like how kd kept mentioning the other two times this happened, especially important because this was the same techie we?d dealt with the last two times.

His final response:
Try it now! We rebooted it just in case.

They rebooted the machine? What is this, Windows ME? No explanation, no apology?


I suppose I should just be happy things are working again. Always look on the bright side of life, mg.

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by mg at 06:20 PM on February 14, 2002

I was sitting in the john a couple minutes ago, taking care of some business, when I noticed a little moisture in the genital region. It wasn't the normal fluids escaping the body feeling, it was the "your junk is partially submerged in urine/poop water." feeling.

If this were Palmolive it'd be one thing. But, you know, it isn't.

I've never hung so low my mule has gotten soaked before. I don't know whether to feel proud or disgusted.

comments (7)


Penis Radar - The Survey Guy

by shar at 07:53 AM on February 14, 2002

I've been living at home for almost two months now and I still can't believe that a) I don't have a job yet, b) I haven't killed anyone in my immediate family....yet, and c) I'm still single. You know what that means? The return of Penis Radar.

So I walk into Goodwill when I see a tall, lean, sideburned dude working the register. Did I mention he had cute Buddy Holly glasses? Did I mention that his real name's Coy? *insert girlish squeal* Anyway, we ended up bonding over terrible Goodwill art (a framed airbrushing of Barbara Streisand), but we didn't exchange digits.

A week passes. I was thinking of going back and asking him out, but I first had to take my semi-annual trip to the mall for some corporate whore clothes. Who do I run into? Coy, wandering the mall, trying to get people to take a product survey about a fat-burning lotion. Turns out he quit Goodwill and gives surveys for cash. "This must be a sign!" I thought, as we snickered our way through the survey. After I had given my number for the survey, he delivers this egg:

"So, can I call you for a follow-up?" Tee hee.

He calls me Friday night while I'm getting ready to go out. I was a little distracted and rambly because I was missing a sock, but he laughed and said it was fine while I rambled incessantly about the damn sock. Coy said he'd call back, but he hasn't yet. At the time, it seemed the conversation was cute and he thought I was delightfully flustered, but now that I think about it, it probably went like this:

Coy: So, what are you up to this weekend?


It's been almost a week, and to nobody's surprise, he hasn't called me back. Really, is it any wonder that I'm alone AGAIN this Valentine's Day?

comments (11)


like a river that don't know where it's flowing

by mg at 12:15 AM on February 14, 2002

Holidays are always good for webloggers. Let me tell you, the content just writes itself when President’s day rolls around.

But, instead of taking the easy way out, and just writing about how much I hate Valentine’s Day because I’m alone. I could write about how I don’t mind Valentine’s Day because I’m okay with being alone; which, of course, would be a lie. I could write about how I’m okay with Valentine’s Day because I’m in love; which would be a phenomenal lie, unless I count loving myself; which I don’t because that’s just sad (and illegal in Texas).

Instead, I’m just going to ignore the topic completely.

No, really.

Seriously, I’m done for the day.

Not another word.

Okay, okay already!

How could I possibly ignore this opportunity? But, instead of being bitter about being alone for yet another year I’m going to be happy for all the love I do have in my life. Platonic love. Familial love. Self love. But most of all, linky love:

© © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © © ©

I hope you all have the Symbol font installed on your computers, otherwise that looks like crap. Or, rather, a bunch of “©” symbols, which would be entirely inappropriate for the occasion. Besides, I’m not supposed to be announcing my intellectual property rights to all of your weblogs for another couple weeks (my lawyers are still filing the writs).

I was going to form the little hearts into one bigger ascii heart. But then I started doing it and realized how hard it was (I’m not artist, ascii or otherwise). I decided as much as I love you all, I had much better things to do with my time; like sit on my ascii in front of the tv and watch some quality Olympic Ski Jumping.

At any rate. Thanks for all the linky love, and the commenty love, the coming by reading the site everyday love, but especially the clicking on the text ad love.

comments (10)


Obligatory test song

by billegible at 07:07 AM on February 13, 2002

Once I was a boogie singer
Playin' in a Rock 'n Roll band
I never had no problems
Runnin' down the one night stands
And everything around me
Got to start to feelin' so low
And I decided quickly
To disco down and check out the show
Yea they were dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin'
And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted

Play that funky music white boy
Play that funky music right
Play that funky music white boy
Lay down the boogie and play that funky music 'til you die
'til you die, oh 'til you die

I tried to understand this,
I thought that they were out of their minds.
How could I be so foolish (how could I),
to not see I was the one behind.
But still I kept on fightin',
woah, loosing every step of the way.
I said I must go back there,
and check and see if things (are) still the same

Hey, wait a minute

Now first it wasn't easy
Changin' rock 'n roll minds
And things were gettin' shaky
I thought I'd have to leave it behind
But now it's so much better
I'm funking out in every way
But I'll never lose that feeling
Of how I learned my lesson that day
When they were singin' and dancin' and movin' to the groovin'
And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted

They shouted
Play that funky music
Play that funky music
Play that funky music
Play that funky music
Play that funky music

comments (4)


but there were planes to catch and bills to pay

by mg at 12:18 AM on February 13, 2002

It may be some sort of sickness, but I spend a lot of time thinking about how old I am. Now, I’m not really that old. I’m just a lad of merely 25 years (nearly 26, start setting aside money for birthday presents now, you’ve only got two months to save).

It is kind of morbid to think about my age so much, but I do.

I think about how I’m closer now to 30 than I am to being a teenager. I think about how I’m coming up on my 10-year high school reunion. I think about how if I were to die tomorrow people might not say “He died so young.” I think about how if they were . I think about how even my youngest cousin is shaving now. I think about how it’s getting less and less appropriate for me to date a 16 year old.

But most of all I think about how at this age, my life should be all figured out already. I should have a great job, wife, a couple of kids, a house in the suburbs, and of course, and a Suburban. Isn’t that where people my age are supposed to be?

My mom’s friend’s kids are all already married with a kid or two of their own. But they are all at least a couple years older than me. Besides, I’ve never been kicked off the New York Police Department for taking bribes either, so I think my mom won’t be bitching about grandkids for a while.

People in my demo are living their lives on television; Zander on Buffy is getting married, Angel on Angel has a kid now, and all those people on Temptation Island have… no, they’re just sluts. I suppose I shouldn’t bother comparing myself to TV, though. My life, to this point, has been nothing like a television show (though it occasionally resembles an old episode of Joy of Painting), why should I expect that to change now?

Still, it seems as if I should have things a little more figured out. Society insists that 25 is adulthood (I can rent cars now without paying extra!). How come I still don’t feel like an adult? How come I’ve got nothing figured out?

Society may tell me that I’m supposed to be an adult, and I guess I feel like an adult. Or at least I feel as if I can pull off a pretty good public imitation of one, as long as no one finds out that I still watching cartoons every Saturday morning, consider cereal an appropriate dinner, and laugh whenever I hear farting noises.

My only consolation is that I know a lot of people like me (but not exactly like me because I’m unique, my mommy told me so) and none of them have got it figured out yet either. These are people my own age; friends and acquaintances who are just as confused as I am.

So, I figure, as long they don’t figure their lives out (find great jobs, meet Mr/s Right and start a litter of offspring) I’m okay. I’ll still be a screw up, but less obviously so. Well, Melly popped out her kid the other day (and he is the puffed-cheekiest).

It’s spun my whole world out of control. Melly is 3 years younger than me, and now she’s a mommy. I’m happy for her and all, but damn, one more person in the world to envy. Still, I’ve solace in the thought of watching Recess and talking Transformers with little Mathew.

comments (16)


the bad sam affair

by lizard at 05:09 AM on February 12, 2002

so i'm trying to post more often here. in the moments i'm delusional and apparently wanting to live the dangerous life, i kid myself that it's safe here, that the reasons i don't post certain things elsewhere won't find me here. but between browser histories i forget to clear, the unhidden links on my own site(s), and good ol' google, nothing is sacred. i'm an open damn book. i have things i'd like to write in that book, and i cannot.

i have interesting, possibly exciting things happening, at least in my imagination and possibly even in my life, but let's remember the vividness of the imagination in question and realize the actual possibilites are rather farfetched. or they're not, depending on how many beers i've had at the time when i'm considering them.

my frustrated life has me drinking too much, staying up too late, and being so tired that i collapse into a nap at the end of the day which keeps me up too late again. foam at the mouth, rinse, repeat. i must say that this lather i've worked myself into is quite stimulating, and has precipitated much thinking about change. i sit and consider all manner of different approaches to life, from homicide to exercise to actually quitting smoking. notice i say ‘sit’, because i have done nothing else as i babble about the latter two and categorically deny actually thinking about the first, claiming that mentioning is is fiction designed to enhance the danger of posting here at my so-called safe place, this ‘blog on the side’ affair thingy i have going with bad sam, without actually incurring any peril.

to sum this up, it's way too late, i'm filled with the energy of all the of fascinating things i have to write about, but i can't tell you, or else i'd have to kill you.

comments (5)


Not 2 shabby

by effenheimer at 06:57 PM on February 11, 2002

I was big pimpin' and spending cheese aplenty in the officially recognized metropolitan area known as Des Moines (duh-moyn) Iowa Friday night when I came up with second place in the Master Columnist competition of the Iowa Newspaper Association's annual awards ceremony. Not too bad at all for having had only 12 columns from which to choose at the time. The future is definitely bright at this point, at least brighter than it was.

I defeated big guns and made many an editor ask "who is this guy who came out of nowhere to kick our pro assses all over the lower Des Moines lobe region of central Iowa?" The answer? Gregantor! The space age robot whose at your command.

I was pondering something my old adviser, uh, one Ms. Jane Smiley author of "A Thousand Acres is not Enough" (I call her Jane), said in a creative writing non-fiction class while doing tequila shooters with an editor of ill repute and some other awared winning studs at the Marriott hotel bar. "Dissapointment is as much a part of the creative process as writing itself. You can never be happy with anything you write and it will ultimately drive you absolutely shithouse-rat crazy... if you are any good, which most of you are not." Then she wept openly for five minutes before apologizing, it was kind of funny.

point being that I was happy to get anything before that night until that single, solitary second between them announcing the third place winner who was NOT me and the second place winner who WAS me. I remember thinking, "I'm not third! oh jesus maybe I'm the first place... awshitwouldntyaknowit."

yes, it is silly to fret and moan. i mean, i didnt even want first place until that second i knew i wasnt third. had i gotten third, I would have thought, "good enough" and gotten hammered.

Desire does crazy things to a man. Just ask the next dancer with kids I lay a 20 on. Disappointment rolls down hill, I figure, and right now I'm about half way up.

"Suffer harpy suffer!"

"Ow my hair!"

"Oh sorry, it was a accident."

"that's OK"

"of course it is, here is another single. Want to hear some of my poetry?"

"Uh...I guess so"

"Good. 'Your love gave me open sores and this I knows/no creams, no jellies, can take the stinging pain from out my heart.' What do you think?"


"Its good right?"

"I don't get it."

"That's because you're stupid! STUPID! STUPID!! Mommy!? Get me another O'Douls!"

On a side note, I'd like to give a shout out to all my Ames homies who treated eff right this weekend with steak and tequila and good conversation. Sorry about the mess, these things happen occasionally.

comments (3)


The Price Is Wrong, Bitch.

by muaddib at 01:48 PM on February 10, 2002

Well, now that the Pro Bowl's been played, football season is officially over. This depresses me, because, quite frankly, I really don't care enough about any other sport to follow it closely. What follows will likely cause howls of derision from some, but, hey, it's my post so they're my opinions.

The sport of football has managed to cobble together a pretty decent system that keeps money from ruining the fun of the game. I don't much like salary caps, but for football it seems to have worked pretty well. This season was proof of that: There was simply no predicting what would happen from one week to the next. I mean, hey, the Bengals beat the Patriots in the season opener, but the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl. Pretty solid evidence the salary cap works to distribute good players throughout the league.

Meanwhile, football has a playoff system that makes sense from a competitive perspective: Each team plays 16 games; the top teams from each division go to the playoffs and then play one game against each opponent until one team from each conference plays for the championship. None of this computerized ranking system insanity, no 7 game series, just one game: Winner takes all, loser's season is over.

It makes a certain amount of sense that baseball has series. It's a statistical sport - unlike football, the teams can't play all their best players in one game; pitchers start in rotation. But we all know that the decision to move from five game championship series to seven games had nothing to do with competition. Five games was enough, but seven means more TV money.

To the extent I have ever cared enough about the fisticuffs on skates called hockey, I would say the same logic applies. Because of the nature of the game, it makes sense to require a team to win more than once game to advance. But they squeeze it for all they can, to the detriment of the sport.

Professional basketball is the worst offender. I swear it seems like the season never ends. They spend, what? four months in the playoffs, take a couple of weeks off, and bang! The regular season starts again. I know, I know, it's not really like that, but it sure seems like it.

College basketball used to be the purest mass spectator sport there was. The playoff system has minor faults, but is nevertheless clean and direct - like pro football's. But the sport has gone to hell and with it my interest in it. I, who was raised on college basketball (you take it with mother's milk in Kentucky), really couldn't care less any more. I manage to muster up a modicum of interest in the NCAA championship, but that's about it.

It never much bothered me that the college system was a de facto minor league system for the pros. There are legitimate points to be made on that score, but the system developed that way and seemed to work. Then the Powers That Be decided to "fix" the system. Recruiting became not so much a way to attract talent as a good way to lose your school's eligibility for TV time and playoff berths. Much like campaign finance "reform" proposals, the "fixes" have served only to make the system worse, justifying still more fixes.

I've always felt that college athletes should be provided a stipend. They don't have time to work during the season - or much of the off-season - and many are poor or simply from the strapped middle class. But we tell them they must gut it out and they'll lose their eligibility to play (and, thus, their ability to attact professional recruitment) if they let some booster buy them a plane ticket home for Uncle Cletus' funeral. It's ridiculous.

And don't get me started on the "sport" of NASCAR. That's not a sport, and drivers are not athletes. Sure, they sweat and work hard physically, but so do longshoremen, coal miners, and garbagemen. And last I checked, trash can tossing was not on the Summer Olympics schedule.

I've never really understood the attraction of sitting on bleachers watching cars go 'round in circles for four hours. The infield of the Indy 500 I get - that's an excuse to join in one of the biggest parties in the world, one that just happens to be in the middle of a bunch of cars going 'round in circles for four hours. But actually caring enough about this activity to follow it, attend the events and/or watch it on TV every week, and put drivers' numbers of one's personal vehicle? Inexplicable! I used to think people went to see crashes, but the proliferation of those number stickers on people's cars over the last few years seems to suggests otherwise. I'll never understand it.

Which, I suppose, leads to the point. All of this stuff - except the ruination of college basketball - is the way it is because the fans don't mind. I suspect some changes will be coming for college football after this year's BCS debacle, but for the others it will only get worse. The fans don't mind the extra couple of games at the end of the season, which I can certainly understand (I certainly wouldn't complain if the NFL went to a 21-week season, instead of the current 17 weeks) even if they know, somewhere in the backs of their minds, that the only reason for it is to take a little more of their money. So it's okay, I guess. But I don't have to like it.

And you don't have to like that I quoted Adam Sandler in the title, but, hey, it fit.

comments (4)


illin' about my ailin' is the style of the times

by antwon at 09:01 AM on February 10, 2002

I've spent the last six months suffering from cellulitis. Well, perhaps "suffering" is a touch of an overstatement - it's not like it's been off slaughtering my pets or violating my civil liberties or anything. Call me old-fashioned, but "ankle is a touch on the puffy side" does not true suffering make, though that's about as symptomatic as it's been 98% of the time. But the cellulitis has been there nonetheless, wreaking its intermittent havoc on my humdrum existence.

Every once in a while, it becomes jaded with the ennui of mere ankle puffiness and develops delusions of grandeur, blitzkrieging against my bodily systems and bringing on overwhelming fatigue and a massive rise in body temperature. These attacks have always proven foolhardy, though, as I possess the Power of Technology™, with antibiotics merrily cratering the cellulitis back into the Stone Age. My immune system frolicks and cheers and waves its little Antwon flags in ticker tape parades; the cellulitis retreats to its hideaway and goes back to brainstorming dastardly Rube Goldbergian schemes of Twon-domination. It's an exciting little fight I have ringside seats for, if slightly inconvenient ones.

Anyhow: my local doctor, unhappy at the lack of results he's been getting from handing me pills and frowning sympathetically at my leg, has sent me off to a different doctor, presumably one with better pills and the ability to frown more intently. A specialist this time - sure, my general practitioner might have the wherewithal to keep the demon cellulitis at bay, but clearly, a specialist should be able to scheme up some super-bad-ass solution that'll finally eradicate it once and for all.

So I've had a whole new squadron of individuals swooping down upon me, performing vaguely medical procedures seemingly at random. They feel my leg! They take my blood! They listen to me breathe! They frown! They scribble things on clipboards! Lord only knows what they're doing to me, much less how they're trying to divine a rational solution from all this data... but I figure that the end will justify the means. The specialist will dream up some sort of mega-cool solution to my woes, and whatever it is will work like a dream, and then I'll be free to put on my socks every morning without encountering so much as a puffy ankle memorial to remind me of the hardship.

But then finally, at long last, the proposed solution to my problems? "We think that you should wear Birkenstocks. 'Cuz we, uh, don't really know what's wrong, but maybe it's an externally-sourced reinfection... which is caused by breaks in the skin on your feet... which you're getting from having sweaty feet during the day... which would be alleviated if you wore Birkenstocks."

So... that's it? That's it?!? That's the answer I've been patiently looking forward to for all this time?!? You had every medically-schooled entity you could get your hands on poke and prod me, inquiring about my life history and constructing baroque hypotheses that make deciphering superstring theory look like glancing at a YOU ARE HERE mall kiosk... and a brief critique of my footwear is the best you can come up with?

I don't mind them not knowing what the hell is going wrong with my body nor how best to fix it, really I don't. I just figure that at the salaries they're collectively making, they could be troubled to lie at least a little more convincingly, y'know?

comments (4)


two thousand fifty zero zero zero party over, oops out of time

by mg at 12:02 AM on February 09, 2002

Bad Samaritan is on the verge of a momentous occasion. Since this site first began on October 3rd, 2000 there have been 249,121 unique visits. If the law of averages remains in effect, we’ll break 250,000 sometime early Saturday morning.

Of course, those stats are from Site Meter, which is anything but accurate. According to Webtrends Live, the other counter I use, we’ve had about 260,000 unique visits since just last May. But, a milestone is a milestone, and I wont let anything, least of all basic math, tarnish my unabashed joy.

I always say I don’t do this for attention, but in lieu of actually winning awards, hits will do. It’d be nice to be Stanley Kubrick, but I’ll settle for being Steven Spielberg. Of course, it’d be nice to be both, though I’d hate to have my readers walking out on me like people were doing during the finale of A.I.

I could never have imagined, a year and a half ago, that I’d get even 100 people visiting this site, much less a quarter of a million. Okay, sure, there probably haven’t been 250,000 different people with in their location bars; most of the visits have probably come from the same 10 people who regularly comment. There are some crazy stalkers who check the site in excess of 20 times a day, and for that, I love them.

However, there is no way to prove how many unique visitors there have bee, just unique visits. Besides, I’m much happier thinking there are 250,000 people from all over the world (more than 120 different countries) chuckling at our witty writing (not just Mariah Carey Nudie Pictures) on a daily basis, and 249,990 of them are just too shy to comment or send me an email.

In honor of this truly momentous occasion (on par with only the moon landing and the day Pamela Anderson hit puberty), I’d like every single one of you who visit Bad Samaritan on a daily basis, but have never (or infrequently) commented, to do so now. I want Wil Wheaton to be green with envy about the number of comments this post gets. Can you do that for me? Please? I’m begging here.

If you all can do that for me, I’ll do something for all of you. If the Site Meter counter (Site Meter) says you are the fabled 250,000 visit take a screenshot (to prove it was you) and let me know. Whoever it is gets a fantastic prize. I will take suggestions from everyone, and especially the eventual winner, about just what that prize should be.

I probably should begin putting a little more thought into these little contests. Anyway, the next milestone will be 1,000,000 total hits and that should occur sometime in April. See you then.

comments (25)


achtung baby, boring periodic site update ahead!

by mg at 11:05 AM on February 08, 2002

I haven't done one of those boring site updates in a while, so, here goes:

The January song contest thing is over. More on that, later.

There are also two BIG Bad Samaritan announcements to be made in the next couple days. These revelations will change the face of the Internet forever. Prepare to be amazed, or at least mildly amused.

I added a couple new quotes to the random tagline generator. Hit reload (a lot), to find them.

I also added several new sites to the "favorites" list. If you think you deserve to be on that list let me know, maybe I’ll agree. I’m as big a fan of linky love as the next guy.

For those of you too lazy to figure it out, those sites marked with an "&" are new. Those marked with a "!" are big favs. And those marked with a "*" are sites of Bad Samaritan staff members.

I added a little text ad up at the top of the page. The service is provided by the wonderful people at Ad Farm. If you want to support Bad Samaritan (or any of about 30 other independent content producers), you can go there now and buy an ad. The base plan costs a mere $10; a small price to pay for great content, made fresh daily.

If you want to just give me money, there is always Pay Pal:

If you don’t want to give me money, but want to support Bad Samaritan, you can help out by purchasing goods or services from any of these fine digital merchants: Big-Penis, Netflix, Lovers Caught on Tape, Crucial, T-Shirt Hell, and of course, Amazon.

If you are poor (and don’t worry, I’m poor too. I’ve been spending my days at Grand Central Station with a “Will Blog for Food” sign) and want to support Bad Samaritan, why don’t you go vote for us at the Antibloggies. I think it ends today. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any chance to win, since I’m just as unpopular with the Z-Listers as I am unknown with the A-Listers. But, you know, hope springs eternal.

Besides for “Biggest sore loser for not winning a Bloggie” I’m not really in love with any of the categories. These are some of the categories I’ve been voting for myself: “Most distracting background image,” “Biggest jerk,” “Biggest potty mouth,” and “Weblog of the Millennium.” So, you know go vote, or don’t, I couldn’t care less either way.

And finally, I’m still looking for new Samaritans. If interested in joining the staff, or you sent an application and I never got back to you, let me know. Over and out.

comments (3)


bad news: store apologizes for green beer special in honor of st patrick's

by mg at 11:19 PM on February 07, 2002

BOSTON, Ma. (AP) -- A supermarket advertised a sale on corned beef and cabbage in honor of St Patrick’s Day, prompting the company to issue an apology after a customer complained.

Shaw’s Supermarket customer Seamus O’Brien brought the ad to the attention of the manager of the store in South Boston. The sign read: "In honor of St Patrick’s Day, we at Shaw’s are offering a special savings on corned beef and cabbage."

"I showed it to a few of the other customers ... and they all were stunned," O’Brien said. "When I approached the store manager about the problem he had the nerve to ask me why it offended me so much."

Shaw Supermarket apologized on Wednesday and said the sign was not meant to be offensive. "It did happen. It was at that one store only," said Denny Hopkins, Shaw’s vice president of advertising. "We had a customer bring the sign to us and complain and we immediately took it down."

Michael Quinlin, head of the Boston Irish Tourism Association, said the sign reinforces racist stereotypes. "Not all Irish-Americans eat cabbage, potatoes, and drink beer. We like salad, roast beef, low-fat chicken, just like everybody else," he said.

Shaw is sponsoring several programs for St Patrick’s Day, including having Black 47 perform, green beer, and celtic food samples at its Charlestown, and Dorchester stores, Hopkins said.

O’Brien said the sign wouldn't keep him from shopping at the store. "We laugh about it," he said. "How could they put something like that out there?"


comments (10)


Does cork work that way too?

by zia at 10:49 PM on February 06, 2002

I thought I peed in my pants and only seconds later realised that my period came. Talk about being slow for a girl. Tsk. Couldn’t do much about it as I was halfway through my Assam Laksa ( noddles ) with Hui Sze at Central Park near my place. It was almost blissful to know that I’m menstruating and at the same time, no awful cramps to paralyze my mobility like it always does. So, we promptly moved on after dinner to Kool for some bubbly pearl tea.

Yes, I was too gleeful to bother about sanitary pads and stuff. Wearing a pair of dark denim doesn’t do much towards my conscience either. I assure you ( in best imitation of Justin’s voice ), that Zia usually knows better when she’s not too smitten with her once in a blue moon pain-free menstruation.

Should have known it sounded too good to be true. Was awoken countless time at wee hours by spasm of abdominal pain and the blood flow like an irreparable leaky tap. It was difficult to fall into slumber when you have warm sticky fluid spreading up to your butt as you were lying down. I seriously would jam a stopper or a cork or whatever at the source if it would freaking stop disrupting my much needed sleep. Apparently I did fall asleep eventually. I guess my exhaustion from the day won over.

Not surprisingly, it was no better this morning. The moment I stood up minutes after I was awoken ( naturally ), my already heavily-soaked pad was once again hit by the mini crimson flood. It was like they ( the flood ) have been ‘waiting’ all night for the ‘dam’ to open just ‘wide’ enough for them to make a mad rush for the ‘outside’ world. My knickers stretched downwards from the weight of the liquid discard. Super absorbent pads are not necessarily efficient when you’re a scary ‘leaker’ unless your knickers come with industrial strength elastic bands.

Why are some of you cringing at your seats? Its not everyday you get to read explicit accounts of my menstrual grind you know. Just about once/twice a month. How much more less can you ask for? Hehe.

Last month I peed Ribena. This month, it looks more like diluted grape wine minus the sparkle. Seriously, if I scoop a glass of ‘grape wine’ off the * coughs * bowl and proffer it to any ( undiscerning ) wine lovers, I bet they couldn’t differentiate the real thing right from the bottle and straight from the bowl because the resemblance is simply amazing. Just like Pepsi and Cola. Until they *urk * drink it of course…

Looks like I’m grossing myself ( and you ) out by my own admission.

All that in less than 24 hours and I am not finished yet.

Okay okay, maybe I’ll consider really really carefully whether I should spare you guys those monthly gore in near future or just proceed otherwise just for the hell of it.


comments (19)


Five Touches or you´re the sun who makes me shine

by mg at 11:56 PM on February 05, 2002

I'm guessing none of the staff feels comfortable posting on top of my last post, and really, I can't blame them. Pretty heavy stuff.

It's hard to know when it's appropriate to get back to talking about Bloggies and boobies after someone has died. It may seem like there will never be a right time, but if you don't get back to living your life, you may as well have been the one to have died.

You may think me sick, twisted and heartless, but I have to go back to being me. In fact, I'm going to be über frivolous for the next couple of days. There is a time to cry and a time to laugh, and the line between the two is thin. I'd like to hope I'm not about to cross it.

A while back Dodd started a meme called Five Songs. In my continual need to make everything that is pure into something all dirty and icky, I’ve combined his basic idea, which is to pick five - and only five - songs you can never get tired of, no matter how many times you hear them, with masturbation. My meme, “Five Touches” asks you to pick five, and only five – people who you’d never get tired of masturbating to, no matter how many times you cum to them.

To paraphrase Dodd, "The way I mean it, a person can only make this list if, after whipping your cream five times in a row, it would be just fine with me if I started fishing for zipper trout right away. If I stroked it again the next day, and the day after that, I'd have to be able to still audition the hand puppet again the next day - and I have to have good reason to believe that I'll still feel that way about the person six months or a year from now."

This isn’t about the person you’d most like to hang out with, or most like to marry. This is about an unattainable goal, and a face, body or voice that gives your helping hand a helping hand.

So, anyway, here is my list:

1. Kirsten Dunst

2. Drew Barrymore

3. Natsuko Tohno

4. Natalie Portman

5. Bjork

Well, that’s it. Easy, huh?

Got a blog? Post your list, then let me know you've done so and I'll put your list up here and link to it. When you post your list, please link it to this page so that others can join in on the fun.

If you don't have a blog you can just email me your list and I'll post it (plus a link to your URL if you have one of those boring old static pages).

It is a common perception amongst men that the ladies don’t ride their own mule down the Grand Canyon. I personally know this to be untrue. So, women, you are not exempt from participating from this meme. You must submit your list of “Five Touches.”

comments (16)



by mg at 10:54 PM on February 04, 2002

If you remember, I came home from my Christmas vacation because my grandmother was in the hospital. Since then, it’s been up and down. Something new would go wrong, but then she’d start doing better. Except for the tubes and wires, she’d be right back to her same ornery self.

But last week she suffered a massive stroke and never regained consciousness. She had been in the hospital for two months, and had often expressed her desire not to be kept alive by machinery. Her children (my mom, aunt and uncle) decided to disconnect all life support on Tuesday. At the same time I was sitting at work, unaware of what was going on, but having the overwhelming urge to break down and cry.

My grandmother, stubborn as ever, stayed alive for another four days. It gave the rest of the family a chance to get back to New York, to visit her in the hospital and say their goodbyes. She finally passed away Saturday morning.

I don’t really know what to say or do now. Is it appropriate to be writing this? I may do this for attention, but it’s also about sharing my life with all of you, my dearest friends and strangers. More than anything, though, this is about catharsis, about filtering out all the thoughts and emotions bouncing around inside me. In the year and a half I’ve been doing this, I can say there hasn’t been anything I’ve needed to express as much, so please bear with me.

As much as I love her, I’ll admit my grandmother was a very vain woman. For one, she didn’t like being called grandma. She may have been more than 70 years old, but she wasn’t a grandmother, she was Nana. More than that, she never left the house without quaffed hair, makeup, perfume, and jewelry. She may not have always worn a hat and white gloves, but she was a classic lady. Even if it was just going over to family’s house for dinner, she was always exquisitely put together.

I can remember sitting on the bed and watching in the mirror as she applied her makeup, and selected the proper jewelry for the occasion. But I’m sensitive to smells, so when she broke out the can of hairspray, I couldn’t have bolted from the room any faster.

For longer than I’ve been alive, she has dyed her hair bright bright red. And for just as long, she’s had her hair permed. Though I’d never have told her, I always thought of her hair as a great big red afro. Just recently, she bought a wig with brown, wavy hair. It was a shock the first time she wore it out, but she still looked great.

I was the first-born child in my generation. I got spoiled recklessly, by my grandmother more than anyone. I’ve seen this picture so many times that, while it’s impossible I remember my first Christmas, I do. If you can’t tell by my less than amused face, all those presents are for me.

My grandmother, in her bedroom, had an altar with candles, an incense burner, and all that Catholic jazz. Hung on the wall above the altar were several prayer cards and a crucifix. Above Jesus was a picture of, guess who? If you said me, Michael, you’d have been right.

My nearest cousin didn’t come around for another four years. I was always able to get away with things (not that I’d ever try to get away with anything) that, if one my other cousins had done it, would have had Nana screaming bloody murder. I was always the favorite (or maybe she just made me feel that way).

When I was younger, my mother was sick a lot. I spent a lot of time staying with my grandmother. I’d get home from school in the afternoons and sit with Nana to watch Magnum P.I. reruns on channel 9. She thought Tom Selleck was hot. When Hart to Hart came on, it’d be time to do my homework (which was okay, since I hated Hart to Hart). She also turned me on to Xena: Warrior Princess, which, say what you will, is a great show, on so many levels.

My grandparents split up before I was born. As long as I can remember, my grandmother had a boyfriend (until he died a few years ago). My grandmother and Uncle Pete were together for 30 years. They’d see each other almost every night of the week, whether going out to a movie, dinner, or just for a drive.

Sometimes, they’d go to the movies. I never went with them. There is a movie theater called the “Polk.” It is venerable old Triple XXX theatre just a few blocks from my grandmother’s house, and As strange as it may have been I always used to think that’s where they went. I was sure glad when I got old enough to realize how silly that was, but every time I walk past the Polk, I still smile to myself at the thought of Nana and Pete sitting there watching “Six Degrees of Penetration.”

I can remember sitting in the back of Uncle Pete’s car, checking out the Christmas decorations throughout the ritziest neighborhoods in Queens. I also remember being 5 or 6 years old, driving into “The City” (as they’d refer to Manhattan), and cruising the streets. That sense of awe and wonder looking at this beautiful city from the back seat of his car has always stuck with me. I can’t see the New York skyline without remembering my Grandmother and Pete.

I could go on and on. I wont. There is no appropriate thing to say, so all I can say is, I love you Nana.


I disabled comments. I don’t want people to tell me how sorry they are. Instead, why don’t you go to your own site, and write about your grandmother, or father, or sister, or daughter; anyone you love, alive or passed. Better still, why don’t you call up that person, and let them know how much you love them.


Protecting Your Children From Something Worse Than Herod's Troops

by space at 01:03 PM on February 04, 2002

We were twelve years old and it was time to learn about fucking.

They called it our sexuality, as in Valuing Your Sexuality, retreats and programs in which we were taught by about sex, disease, and abstinence, abstinence, abstinence, but if not, condoms, but abstinence, really. I attended Catholic schools in an era, where, fortunately, sex ed was no longer in the hands of celibates. Our teachers mostly had children of their own, so, theoretically they knew how the thing worked. This is not to say they were comfortable with the task of telling a bunch of rambunctious and smart-assed sixth graders the biological terms for functions and equipment they had pretty much grasped (mentally or physically) by now. So our teachers turned, reasonably, to a medium we were familiar with: TV.

One of the Sex Ed videos in particular made a big impression on me. It was shot a couple years before we were born, 1975 or so, when the shorts were short, the socks were long, and young men and women wandered through urban environments for days wondering what sex was. They asked their friends, their parents, their teachers, and even their coaches ("well, it's like this. A boy has a baseball bat, and a girl has a catcher's mitt..."). They grew confused and despairing.

Where can you go when those entrusted with your education have failed you? To whom can a young person look to when she or he cannot get a straight answer? When there's no place left to turn, when you are met by waffling, peculiar metaphors and uncomfortable silences, when your school does not have videos like this very one, what do you do?

I don't know the answer, but our sex video hero found his solution at the zoo. Specifically, with a zookeeper, a guy standing around in a jumpsuit with a broom, waiting for an animal to poop.

Actual dialogue: "I'm glad you asked. In this job, I see a lot of penises. Animal penises, that is."

From the zookeeper, the young man received the ins and outs of sexuality, straight answers in simple terms. By the time the zookeeper had finished, a small crowd of mustachioed and leisure-suited adult citizens had gathered around to applaud the boy's courage. They then formed a line to shake his hand and congratulate him: "I wish that I had thought to ask a zookeeper about sex." "What a brave young man." "Good job." "I had so many questions when I was your age."

We were so stunned by this plot development that we all immediately forgot what the zookeeper had told the boy. After the film, we had a quiz, which most of us failed. And so, a couple days later, our class piled onto the bus for a field trip.

To the zoo.

comments (5)


money=bad, poverty=good

by bornfamous at 02:16 PM on February 03, 2002

How on earth do starving artists and writers manage to create when they have survival to worry about? Yesterday was a stark, cold day of bleak terror as I rode the bus to the credit union, closed my account and rode back, realizing that only $19 stood between us and zero.

So of course, I went to the nearest 7-11 and blew 10% of my entire fortune on a Coke and a bag of lime potato chips. This is the attitude toward money that got me in this fix.

I suppose that some writers and artists actually need to live on the edge in order to feel the terror so they can express it. You'd think there would be a better way.

If that's the case, I should be a regular Stephanie King. Maybe that's why SK is so good at writing horror - he's lived through terrors of his own. Well, not the fear of poverty, at least not lately, but we all have our own private hell hidden deep somewhere, don't we?

"What are you afraid of?" That was the game we used to play, sitting around my half-sister's kitchen table.

"Death by drowning," said she.

"Being alone," said he.

"Homelessness," said I.

So why, then, do I persist in pushing my luck? Why do I seem to fear solvency far more than destitution?

The truth is that I fear money. When I have it, I get rid of it as quickly as possible. Money doesn't just burn a hole in my pocket, it burns my soul.

I fear money because I don't know what to do with it, because there can never be enough of it to quiet the roaring debt monster at my back, because it makes people ugly, because it can't make me happy, because it is the root of all evil.

"If you won the lottery, what would you do?"

"Pay off the mortgage," said she.

"Buy a mansion," said he.

"Give it all away," said I.

And I would, too, but I'm afraid the original good intention of giving it to charity would be shoved aside while I threw money at all the people I owe and feel guilty about. Like all the hapless lottery winners who wind up with nothing in a couple of years, I'd be back to zero in no time.

I've already done as much when I grabbed the brass career ring twenty years ago and blew the opportunity through fear and foolishness. My half-sister did the same when she inherited a million dollars from her adoptive parents. She lost her overpriced house and was living on Social Security a decade later.

No wonder I'm afraid of money. It leads straight to poverty.

Why is it so hard to hang onto money? What's the problem here?

Discipline, of course. Not something that post-Depression Americans have much of a grasp on. Or was the Depression itself the direct result of American abandon? Maybe this is a basic flaw of the American [or even human] character. Let's face it, people who actually do have the discipline to save their money and invest it wisely are considered suspect in our materialistic society.

But getting back to me - this is all about me, after all - how do I get me some 'a that? The only way I've ever been able [okay, willing] to live on a budget has been when I had no choice, either because it was the only way to keep a roof over my head, or when I hired an accountant to manage my big salary and give me a weekly allowance. That worked pretty well until my future ex-husband came into the picture. We truly were kindred spirits where money was concerned.

So now I will be forced again to live on a strict budget. It's a relief, actually. I was becoming quite anxious about not being able to resist my son's increasing plaints for games, gadgetry and fast food.

Now the answer is easy: "No money." When there is no money, there is no argument, no pressure, no need to stand fast in the face of persistent teenagers, bill and tax collectors.

It's so much easier this way.

comments (14)


Ducking glass bird, thumb in the ditch!

by effenheimer at 06:01 PM on February 01, 2002

I am an awesome driver. Not just as far as stunts and wheelies are concerned but in the little things. The two-second following rule, turning into a skid, pumping the breaks — all good especially in bad weather.

Even when the weather isn’t horrid, I rock behind the wheel. I use my turn signal, stop BEFORE the crosswalks — not in them — and I never cut people off if I can help it.

Energy exists as either wave or particle. Waves and particles disrupt or change other waves and particles, which is why leaving your television on all night keeps the ghosts away. That is basic science.

There is another kind of bad voodoo energy that seems incapable of disruption and that is road rage. Sure this topic was REALLY hot a few years ago, but people are up to some serious sick shlt these days. For some reason or other people are just ungodly mad about something. Who can blame them? We live in uncertain times. Mad bombers aside, this economy is no picnic and who likes to feel like chattel?

I would like to claim to be above any and all road rage, but I am not. In fact, my fingers hurt from all of the flipping off I’ve been doing lately. I think I’m getting carpal tunnel syndrome and may soon have to wear a special brace when I drive.

The problem is the force I use. In order to signal one’s disgust at other drivers with authority, one must first brace the middle finger against the thumb and then with a flicking motion move the middle finger into the full upright position.

This gives that most offensive of digits a sort of lightening quickness.

It’s a kind of magic that makes the finger almost appear from nowhere.

I don’t live far from where I work, in fact, I live in a cave in the Loess Hills, entering and exiting only under the cover of darkness in my jet-powered Caprice Classic... not unlike Batman.

It takes me five minutes to get to and from work, yet in that time, I will invariably come across drivers who get livid at the slightest perceived failure of other drivers to conform to their Utopian idea of traffic flow.

It isn’t just drivers. Last week this otherwise lovely octogenarian gentleman had a conniption fit because I stopped a bit quickly in front of his crosswalk. I didn’t enter it, just stopped quickly.

He stood looking far off to the south, avoiding my gaze as I tooted my horn letting him know I was more than happy to allow him to cross.

He WAS there first and I believe that is his right. I tooted my horn pulling him gently from his reverie. A toot that said, hey, I care about your health and welfare on this chilly day as opposed to sustained "eff you, granpa move your ass."

Then he said something while waving his arms I couldn’t quite make out that sounded like “ducking glass bird, thumb in the ditch?!”

Needless to say, I was stunned and wondered what a ducking glass bird might be.

Of course, I flipped him off. Didn’t want to, felt I owed it to him.

That was when I felt the pop in my knuckle that my doctor, a famous Jordanian biathlete, said was the worst case of repetitive stress disorder he had seen outside of one particular baboon at the Henry Doorly Zoo known as Mr. Bates.

I would have to take it easy.

On the way out of the parking lot, his nurse cut me off. She knew what she was doing. So I raised the back of my hand, lowered my thumb and pinkie finger and shouted, “Read between the lines, Florence Nightingale!”

On the way home, I was tailgated by a red SUV with vanity plates that read “JETSKRS.” I wondered what “jetsuckers” was supposed to mean as I applied my break light to no avail. A little trick I learned in driver’s ed circa 1984, not actually slowing down, just giving the impression that if I were to stop ... watch out!

Then jetsuckers passed me in the turning lane of North Broadway as I was about to make my appropriately signaled lane changer doing 50 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone. I know because after I missed my turn I had nothing better to do than follow jetsucker, gauge jetsuckers speed and write down jetsuckers license plate number to turn in to the cops for reckless driving.

Two seconds, folks, it’s not too much to ask.

Like most things, road rage is a symptom of a greater problem. It’s like attention deficit disorder for adult drivers — a critical impatience combined with far too much horsepower and an insatiable desire to control the road. Perhaps Ritalin is the answer.

It’s as though life, being an uncontrollable mess most days, should at least be serene on the streets and when it is not, artificially empowered by huge engines and a ton of metal, we become a tool for vengeance. Well, a tool anyway.

Recently, a truck driver smashed another truck driver between the rig and the other trucker’s after a road rage altercation. This is not simple rage, this is sadistic revenge fantasy stuff for people who spend WAY too much time on the road.

We could all advocate taking it easier but that is not usually an option for Americans. We like to go and go fast lest we feel unproductive. So it goes.

Think before you get in your car and think twice before you get mad. Don’t take things personally and try not to be unreasonable on either side of the fence. Going too fast or too slow are equally likely to irritate others.

And remember that while flipping people off feels good for a little while, it ultimately leaves you feeling empty inside, distances you from others and can tear the ligaments in your finger if you do it too hard.

Next time: Stories from when I drove a cab in Houston, Texas revealing two or three more kinds of people I hate.

comments (3)


the least possible amount of responsibility

by bornfamous at 02:02 PM on February 01, 2002

Just call me Mary Tyler Moore. I am gonna make it after all, dammit.

Did I tell you I lost my job last week? It was my own fault so I don't blame anyone else, but I've been freaking out trying to figure out what to do. I even went to the welfare office Tuesday to apply for aid - a humiliating experience, I can assure you.

But thanks to a very kind anonymous benefactor and the Tokyo Jar [where we save our spare change for a dream trip to Japan - and then spend it in emergencies], I think I can scrape by on the rent this month. Tokyo is just gonna have to wait a bit longer.

So I'm going to cancel the final welfare appointment today. I made too much money in January anyway - they'll just send me home and tell me to come back later when I'm facing homelessness.

I've decided to apply for a minimum wage job at the Arby's across the street. It won't be enough money to cover everything but it will buy me time. I can go to welfare later and get some extra help if I need it without having to go through the humiliation of being told, "You have a responsibility to take care of your own children." That's what what they said Tuesday.

I know that. Why do you think I'm freaking out? Those people are hardened. They made me ashamed and angry at the time but now I feel sad for them and their clients. I'd hate to have their job.

This job, however, feels right. I've always hated office jobs and the pressure and fragrance [i.e., migraines] that come with them. Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be a fragrance problem at Arby's when I visit, and as for pressure - well, it's not the busiest place around here by a long shot.

I know it's corny, but I feel happy about this when I think in terms of the idea of being of service. Feeding people - even fast food - is giving service, and doing it with love is the best thing I can do. I've been feeling very frustrated about having so little contact with people because of my fragrance problem, and not feeling like I'm helping anyone.

This will also take the immediate financial pressure off and let me spend my free time working on BlogRadio and writing. After all, isn't this in the long tradition of artists working menial jobs to support their art?

Of course, it will take awhile to recover from the shock of working long days on my feet - let's face it, I'm not 25 any more - but yoga will help with that. Yoga and lots of aspirin.

My son Robby suggested the idea after we saw "American Beauty" on cable for the seventh time. We both love the scene where Kevin Spacey applies for a fast food job, saying, "I want the least possible amount of responsibility."

Yeah. Me too.

comments (4)


la, la, la, la, la, la, now you know the tune

by mg at 10:38 AM on February 01, 2002

When I got to work yesterday morning, there was a cop car outside the building. Considering there is no parking on that street, any car is a little strange, but a cop car is downright [insert other word for strange].

When I go into the building there were not one, not two, not four thousand, but three, cops right there in the lobby. Peculiar and peculiarer.

After settling down at my borrowed desk, booting up the computer and checking my email, I decided I deserved a break. I went upstairs to the corporate cafeteria (employment has its privileges) for some coffee and a sticky bun.

Heading back toward the elevator, I passed a cop heading into the cafeteria. “This is getting to be really weird,” I think I thought to myself.

I headed back downstairs and proceeded to check out everyone’s blog, I mean “work” (no, really) for the next couple hours. I headed outside at about 2 (forgoing a second trip to the cafeteria), for lunch and a smoke.

As I was standing outside, what do my wondering perceive, but one of those miniature police cars and eight overweight police officers. This was getting downright scary. Was there a bomb threat in my building? A murder? Free donuts in the cafeteria?

I left work at about 7 and decided, instead of going directly to the subway and home, I decided to walk uptown a bit. I like walking. Helps me think and burn off sexual tension. It also propels me past many store windows, where I might peer in and covet the many things I could never hope to afford.

I got to about 47th street and 5th avenue, and whilst craning my neck and pining over some new Kenneth Cole shoes, I notice a giant blob of blue to my left. On closer inspection, it wasn’t just one big ball of blue, but rather a conglomeration of many smaller globs off blue. I took off my fake glasses to wipe the rain off (did I mention it was raining? That I decided to walk close to a mile, at night, in the rain, without an umbrella?).

When I put my fake glasses back on, I was able to see that the ball of blue wasn’t made of blue globs at all, rather, it was made up of a gaggle of police officers. They must have been five deep and twenty wide, if they were a day. I counted close to 3,987 police officers in the group. And they were just standing there, in one spot. Doing nothing.

Those 50 square feet may have constituted the lowest crime rate in the world, but I was standing half a block away and I got mugged nine times.

I’ve been thinking about it since last night and I can still come to no logical conclusion to explain the well above average police prescence I’d encountered throughout the day. On a completely unrelated note, New York seems pretty unprepared for the World Economic Forum.

comments (2)


what's that you say, mrs. robinson?

by lizard at 01:37 AM on February 01, 2002

So far, pretty much everything Bob ever told me was right. She told me MetaFilter was a bunch of snarky elitist bastards, when I first fell in love with it. She was right. She told me that I'd like the AIM, and I told her I didn't like to think at the speed of chat (I'm in three or four chat windows right now, as I type this.) She told me that being obsessed with manipulating Google to generate huge traffic numbers would get old. It did. There isn't a thing she's told me, that hasn't come stunningly, poignantly true.

She also told me, in regards my hormonal surges of late, that soon enough, they will go away and never bother me again. I hope so. Because right now my libido is driving me quickly insane. “Don't you live with some guy?”, you ask? Yes, yes I do, and it is entirely unfulfilling. Completely, utterly passionless, at least physically. Mentally? I am constantly in an advanced state of madly horny. I can barely stand it. Barely? I can't. I can't stand it at all.

So what do I do? Have a wild steamy affair? In my mind, all the time. Online, as often as possible. Raise your hand if I've ever been totally slutty with you in a chat room. Good thing this is the internet and you can't see the sea of wildly waving hands out there. I would like to preserve some shred of dignity here. No, wait. I wouldn't.

So the drunken cyber-romps are fun. There have been so many. Do I fall out of these crushes? Not really, but eventually reality sets in and I switch obsessions to someone new, someone I haven't yet figured out that it's impossible i'll ever actually have sex with.

Then, recently, someone I know IRL (professionally and totally platonically) started to interact with me online, and whatever passing fantasies I may have had are now beginning to drive me completely insane. So what do you do when an impossibly hot guy says, the beer's on me when this project is finished? You imagine drinking the beers and mentioning, ‘I'm old enough to be your mother’ and one thing leading to another and... eventually realize that it's never going to happen. I haven't quite gotten there yet but I will. Realization always follows fantasies, it's why I keep having more fantasies, to the extent I seem like quite the cyber-slut.

Really, I'm not. In reality, I'll never get laid, and eventually I'll lose all this misplaced desire and settle into the rest of my life.

I will be ok with this eventually. As of this writing, I am not.

comments (5)